Jetconnect is a wholly owned subsidiary airline of Qantas that is based in Auckland, New Zealand. It was established in July 2002, commencing operations in October the same year. It operates trans-Tasman services between New Zealand and Australia under the Qantas brand. It employs crew based in New Zealand and operates aircraft registered in New Zealand. It also operated domestic services within New Zealand until these services were taken over by Jetstar Airways, another Qantas subsidiary, on 10 June 2009. Its main base is Auckland Airport.
Jetconnect also employs long haul cabin crew who operate on Qantas mainline long haul services from Australia. These crew are based in Auckland. From the first half of 2014, they began operating on selected Qantas mainline Boeing 737-800 trans-Tasman services under a "partial base integration" initiative.
Jetconnect operates almost all Qantas-marketed flights from Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington to Australian east coast destinations. Jetconnect currently operates the following flights:
In addition to flights operated by Jetconnect, Qantas mainline operates seasonal flights from Auckland to Perth, Queenstown to Brisbane and Queenstown to Melbourne. Brisbane to Wellington and Christchurch.
Jetconnect operated domestic flights in New Zealand until 9 June 2009. The final domestic service was QF2728 from Wellington to Auckland operated by 737-300 ZK-JNC. Domestic services included routes between Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown. Services between Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington have been replaced with Jetstar services. Services to Rotorua were discontinued.
Jetconnect Boeing 737-300 at Sydney Airport in original livery without the "Spirit of Australia" slogan (this aircraft has since been retired)
Jetconnect operates a fleet of eight Boeing 737-800s registered in New Zealand but in Qantas livery. All Jetconnect aircraft have AVOD (Audio-Visual On Demand) installed, giving passengers access to a wide range of in-flight entertainment options in their seats from gate to gate. As of November 2011 the Jetconnect fleet consists of the following aircraft:
On 17 May 2006, the union representing Australian Qantas pilots, the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), lodged an application to the Australian industrial relations commission Fair Work Australia, seeking to alter its eligibility rules to enable the enrolment of Jetconnect pilots in the union. On 23 May 2007 the commission ruled against the union, declining to consider the question, considering it inappropriate for the AIPA to be able to enrol New Zealand–based Jetconnect pilots, as they were already eligible to be members of the New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association.
In December 2009 the AIPA took Jetconnect parent Qantas to Fair Work Australia, accusing the company of deliberately driving down wages and conditions, by undermining the spirit and intent of the Australian Fair Work Act. The AIPA accused Qantas of paying Jetconnect pilots 40 percent less than Qantas pilots, who six months earlier had been flying the majority of the airline's trans-Tasman services. Qantas was confident that it would win the case, stating: "These are New Zealand pilots operating New Zealand-originated services flying New Zealand-registered aircraft operated by a New Zealand entity".
In May 2010 Fair Work Australia president Justice Geoffrey Giudice agreed to convene a full bench to hear the application, and in July 2010 the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) was granted leave to intervene in the case after the ACTU argued that the outcome would have major ramifications for labour hire practice in Australia. The ACTU made its final submission regarding the case in March 2011; and in a majority decision handed down in September 2011 Fair Work Australia dismissed the AIPA's application.
In June 2011 the ABC program Hungry Beast produced a parody television advertisement for Qantas, highlighting the use of Jetconnect for its trans-Tasman flights.