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Aussie court ends Qantas strike, grounded planes may fly soon

October 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
An Australian court has ended the union strikes and abrupt grounding of Qantas Airways fleets, which stranded tens of thousands of passengers.

In a statement, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the airline could resume as early as Sunday evening.

The court ruled after hearing more than 14 hours of testimony from the airline, unions and the Australian government.

Workers have held strikes and refused to work overtime because they were worried some of Qantas' 35,000 jobs would be moved overseas in a restructuring plan.

The airline argued the strikes disrupted operations and it needed certainty to continue operating.

Joyce estimated the grounding would cost the carrier $20 million a day.

Rolling strikes have forced the cancelation of 600 flights in recent months and disrupted travel for 70,000 passengers while unions battled with the airline over the job restructuring plan.

Saturday's grounding of all planes by the airline was costly, but no one was affected more than those trying to get to their destinations.

In Los Angeles, Dick Salogga and his wife had to rebook their flight to Australia on another airline, and found some airlines were trying to take advantage of the situation.

"At one point we thought we had a flight that was about $3,400 for the two of us, but when we pushed the last button it jumped to about $9,500," Salogga said.

Salogga and his wife were able to rebook at better price on a different airline, but the news the strike was lifted still came as a relief. The couple has a series of flights set up for about 39 days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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