21 Nov 2011

Prospects of peace seen at airline

7:00 am on 21 November 2011

Signs of a detente are emerging between Qantas and its unions.

All Qantas planes were grounded worldwide for 48 hours by the airline on 29 October.

The federal government then stepped in and Fair Work Australia ordered the two parties to cease hostilities and come to an agreement within 21 days.

Now Qantas says it's hopeful on reaching an agreement with the unions, while seeking to placate disgruntled passengers with promises of additional air points and discounted travel.

Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent says this is a critical industrial dispute; not just for Qantas, but for all Australian businesses facing cost pressures from low-wage Asian labour.

A flood of similar industrial settlements can be expected if this deal comes off.

Qantas earlier said it was losing $A15 million per week due to months of strikes and guerilla action by the three unions.