Friday, November 4th, 2011

At 5pm on October 29th, 2011, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce grounded 108 domestic & international aircraft, disrupting the travel plans of almost 70,000 people. This drastic measure was taken to prevent a “slow death by a thousand cuts” due to ongoing industrial disputes with three unions representing pilots, engineers and baggage handlers for Qantas’ “mainline” operations.

Following a series of long emergency sessions at Fair Work Australia, the national work relations tribunal, a decision was handed down that directed the unions to cease their work stoppages and the airline to return to full operations. As aircraft began flying once again and passengers resumed their travels, Qantas commenced repairs on its savaged reputation and the inevitable political wrangling began.

The Plane Crazy Down Under team have released a special episode focusing on this momentous event. They have assembled a diverse range of guests to provide a balanced & honest appraisal of the event, its aftermath and what the future might hold. Unlike the commercial broadcast media, the show doesn’t work to strict timetables or agendas so the guests are able to take their time to explain their views & concerns without being restricted to sound bites.

While the Plane Crazy Down Under team also express their own views during the episode, they have tried to present enough information for their audience to get a better understanding of the situation & form their own decisions.

Guests on this episode include:

. Captain Richard Woodward,Vice President of the Australian & International Pilots Association (AIPA)

. Warren Truss, leader of the National Party and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

. Steve Purvinas, Federal Secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA)

. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon from South Australia

. Dick Smith,an entrepreneur,pilot and past chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Civil Aviation &Safety Authority (CASA)

. Shashank Nigam from Simpliflying, a consultancy specialising in aviation branding & social media

. Ben Sandilands from the Plane Talking blog & Will Horton from the Centre for Aviation, both aviation journalists focusing on the Australasian market

An additional contributor to the episode was Colin Lippiatt, the Manager of Corporate Communications at Virgin Australia. Colin took some time to chat with the team about Virgin Australia’s ability to quickly respond with extra capacity to help affected travellers. While he was not able to be recorded, he provided plenty of useful information that was used during the episode.

The team did attempt to contact the Qantas media department to arrange a representative who could join the episode to respond to the various items already raised during the episode. Unfortunately there was no response and, like Anthony Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure & Transport), it is expected that they were too busy dealing with the big issues and the mainstream media to spare any time.

Although not as long as the team’s F111 special episode (Episode 51: Pig Out), this episode’s 2 hour & 15 minute duration is packed with great content that is expected to be educational, entertaining and most definitely thought provoking.


About Plane Crazy Down Under

Plane Crazy Down Under ( is Australia’s premier aviation show that has been looking at the world of aviation from an Australia / Pacific point of view since July 2009. With 77 episodes already produced and more in the making, they have been downloaded over 250,000 times by listeners around the world.

Produced by Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron, the goal of the show is to boost awareness of aviation within the Australia / Pacific region, promote Australian & New Zealand achievements and spread the message to people that flying is fun & achievable. Through a combination of commentary, interviews and round table discussions, the Plane Crazy Down Under team have built a solid reputation for providing a high quality, professional yet relaxed show and their audience is growing steadily.

Guests on the podcast have included a number of pilots from all aspects of aviation as well as analysts, air traffic controllers, politicians, adventurers, business owners, celebrities and museum staff. Topics and areas covered in the podcast so far range from hot air balloons, recreational flying, warbirds & sport aerobatics through to charter operations, airlines and the military.

Guests of the show have included:

. Red Bull Air Race pilots Matt Hall, Nigel Lamb and Hannes Arch

. Around-Australia charity pilot Owen Zupp (

. Globe Trotting adventurers Ken Evers & Tim Pryse (

. Deborah Lawrie, the first female pilot with Ansett

. Dick Smith, pilot, adventurer and safety advocate

. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Warren Truss, leader of the National Party and shadow minister for infrastructure & transport

. Aviation analysts Shashank Nigam, Ben Sandilands, Will Horton and Saj Ahmad

Plane Crazy Down Under have also produced themed episodes covering a special topic including:

. Flying in & over Antarctica

. The Perth Red Bull Air Race

. Air Traffic Controller training

. The B24 Liberator restoration project (

. The official farewell of the F111 from RAAF service

. Comprehensive coverage of the Qantas A380 incident over Singapore in 2010

. Daily coverage of the Australian International Air Show (Avalon) 2011

. Coverage of Airventure 2011 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA - the world’s largest aviation gathering air show

Episodes are produced every 1 to 2 weeks and each one usually lasts between 60 to 120 minutes. They are each downloaded by well over 2,500 people while the more popular episodes exceed 8,000 downloads a piece. Audience members are typically aviation professionals & enthusiasts that are primarily located in Australia & New Zealand (about 75%) the USA & Canada (about 20%) and the balance are from the UK, Asia and other areas.

Steve & Grant also produce two additional audio products:

1) A weekly aviation news segment for the Airplane Geeks podcast in the USA ( Ranging between an opinionated news review and a full blown radio play with multi-episode plot lines (and sound effects), the Australia Desk segment gives a quick review of major aviation news from down under.

2) A fortnightly segment for the FlightTime Radio show, a weekly radio show on aviation that is broadcast every Saturday morning in Florida ( The Flying Down Under segment presents topics & discussion about aviation in Australia & New Zealand.

Archives of both these segments can be found at:



To learn more about Plane Crazy Down Under, come to our web site where you can listen to episodes, subscribe to the show's iTunes feed and join the audience posting comments on the site and in the forum.

For more information about Plane Crazy Down Under and our other segments, please contact Grant McHerron on 0422 914 949 or via [email protected]

Contact Profile

Southern Skies Online Media

Producers of quality aviation media including Plane Crazy Down Under, Australia's premier aviation show, the Australia Desk news update for the Airplane Geeks show and Flying Down Under, a fortnightly segment on flying in Australia & New Zealand for the FlightTime Radio show.
Grant McHerron
P: 0422 914 949


qantas, grounding, politics, aipa, alaea, casa, dick smith, nic xenophon, warren truss



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