Baggage vehicle crashes into Qantas jet on tarmac

A Qantas plane was damaged when a baggage vehicle crashed into the jet on the tarmac at a West Australian airport, leaving the national carrier defending its controversial outsourcing of ground workers.

A Qantas spokeswoman confirmed a Boeing 737 aircraft sustained damage from a baggage belt loader while on the ground at Perth airport.

“We are investigating how this occurred and are working with our ground handling provider Menzies on this investigation,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Engineering works to repair the damage are under way.”

Qantas’s entire ground operations were outsourced, as the company slashed costs due to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic savaging its bottom line.

Qantas said external ground handlers were no less safe and in some cases provided better safety performance than work done in-house.

“When this work was done in-house, we had 0.8 aircraft damage events per 1000 flights compared to 0.4 for outsourced operations,” the spokeswoman said.

“Comprehensive safety investigations are undertaken after any incident to ensure learnings are captured and processes are updated if required.”

The spokeswoman said all ground handlers were required to abide by Qantas’s safety policies and procedures.

Menzies had provided ground handling services to the group for decades and started providing them to the airline at Perth airport earlier this year, she added.

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