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Wednesday, 3 May 1989
Page: 1732

(Question No. 855)

Senator Jones asked the Minister representing the Minister for Industrial Relations, upon notice, on 3 March 1989:

With reference to the 24-hour strike of airline pilots employed by domestic Australian companies that was held on 20 February 1989 bringing chaos to the Australian economy and causing total disruption to the lives of thousands of travellers, many of them overseas tourists:

(1) What has been the average salary of an Australian Airlines Pilot in the following years: 1983-84 and 1987-88.

(2) What has been the average salary of an Ansett Airlines pilot in the same 2 years.

(3) How does this level of payment compare with the average Australian salary for all workers in those 2 years.

(4) Will consideration be given by the Federal Government to upgrading the abovementioned to the rates of payment currently achieved by domestic airline pilots.

Senator Button —The Minister for Industrial Relations has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

1. Average salary of an Australian Airlines pilot



2. Average salary of an Ansett pilot

1983-84...not available


NOTE: The above figures should be treated with considerable caution as pilots' salaries are calculated using a complex formula, such that the resultant figure is personal to each individual. The major variables to the monthly rate include rank (eg Captain), years of service, aircraft type flown on each trip, hours actually operational each month (varies according to routes bid within each bid period), and whether the flying is day, night or a composite of the two. Pilots are also paid various allowances, including daily travelling allowance, where a pilot is away from home base, and licence renewal allowance.

The above figures have been provided by the airlines and calculated by dividing the total pilots' payroll in a particular year by the average pilot staffing level for that year. Allowances are included.

Ansett was not able to provide figures for the 1983-84 year.

It should also be noted that the Ansett fleet includes more small planes, generating lower rates of pay, than the Australian fleet.

3. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has provided the following data on average weekly earnings:

Average weekly total earnings for full-time adults (includes overtime)


$368.25 Approx $19,210.40

per year


$483.225 Approx $25,208.25

per year

4. Pilots' rates of pay are a matter for determination by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. The overwhelming majority of other wage and salary earners in Australia also have rates of pay determined by the federal or state industrial tribunals.