Qantas condemns sexist chat forum used by pilots to discuss female colleagues

Qantas Boeing 737-800
Ryan Fletcher /

Qantas has described comments written about female colleagues in a chat forum by pilots as “offensive” and “completely unacceptable”. 

Posts shared in the chat forum were leaked by the Herald Sun on Tuesday, August 3, 2023.  

In one message, it claimed there was “a rapid influx of female pilots of a certain age group spawning offspring and then wanting flexible work arrangements”. 

It has been reported that two of the Qantas pilots in the forum no longer work for the airline, while the third is currently under investigation and prevented from flying aircraft. 

The Herald Sun has claimed that the moderator of the group was a captain, with some of the messages dating back to 2018. 

Another post shared in the group said that “women pilots have a huge advantage” over their male colleagues.  

“They can go off, run their breeding program or get a cushy job in the office at twice the pay of the other full time office staff while chest feeding,” another forum member wrote.  

Qantas’ new CEO Vanessa Hudson was also mentioned, after introducing a pilot scholarship program for 50 female students and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in May 2023.  

One person posted: ‘Interesting the day we get a female CEO announced is the day we get advised of this overt discrimination.’  

Qantas chief pilot Dick Tobiano said in a statement: “These comments are completely unacceptable. They’re offensive, don’t reflect our values and have no place here or in any other workplace. We have many talented female pilots at Qantas, and we want to encourage a lot more of them.”  

He added: “Aviation hasn’t been good at that historically and clearly some outdated thinking still exists in some pockets. Criticism of these programs doesn’t change our view.” 

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