Qantas’s Last Flight Almost Departed Santiago Illegally: Union Leader

March 31, 2020 Updated: April 5, 2020

Qantas stood down an engineer who was due to do safety checks and certify the Boeing 747 scheduled to be the airline’s last international flight amid pandemic travel restrictions.

The engineer received written notice that he was “not required, and will not be paid, commencing two hours before” the flight that was scheduled to depart from Santiago, Chile, to Sydney, Australia, on March 28.

However, he was required. It’s the aircraft engineer’s job to check engine oils and tyres, look for possible hydraulic leaks, ensure the aircraft is structurally sound (no bird damage), and verify that the correct amount of fuel is on board, said Stephen Purvinas, federal secretary of Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association.

“Finally he must check all doors are closed properly and when all this is done he has to certify with his license that the craft is airworthy, and right to fly,” said Purvinas.

Without that engineer’s certification the aircraft cannot legally depart, Purvinas wrote in an open letter to Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce and Prime Minister Scott Morrison that was posted to Twitter.

Purvinas told The Epoch Times that the Australian engineer was based in Santiago for a couple of months and was due to fly out on the aircraft after he carried out his checks.

After Purvinas published his letter Qantas quickly reversed the stand-down order.

“In the end [the engineer] did the job and was paid,” said Purvinas. Flight QF28 arrived in Sydney carrying 400 passengers—and the engineer.

Qantas Secures $1 Billion Bailout

In a press release on March 30, the Qantas Group said it secured AU$1.05 billion in additional funds, adding to the $1.9 billion available cash it already had. In order to cut costs and manage through the (Chinese Communist Party) CCP virus—commonly known as novel coronavirus—pandemic, Qantas recently stood down two-thirds of their 30,000 employees until at least the end of May.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly names the debt lender. It is not confirmed what body issued the loan. The Epoch Times regrets the error.

Follow Caden on Twitter: @cadenpearson