Case Study

Unscheduled Event: Qantas Fleet Grounding


Qantas imposed a worldwide grounding of its entire fleet of 108 aircraft. The action came as a result of escalating industrial disputes with three trade unions and was implemented without prior warning. More than 70,000 travellers were affected at 22 airports around the globe.


To rebook all affected travellers with minimal travel disruption

CTM’s key objectives were to:

  • rebook all affected travellers onto alternative carriers to ensure minimal travel disruption
  • maintain ‘business as usual’ operations despite a substantial increase in workload throughout the event
  • communicate information and updates efficiently to all affected travellers

Road Blocks

The scale and timing of this unprecedented event posed a number of challenges for CTM and travellers alike.

These challenges included:

  • the immediate nature of the grounding without prior warning
  • limited information made available by Qantas regarding travel entitlements and resumption of flight activity
  • jammed communication channels to Qantas and alternate airlines
  • the grounding taking place on a weekend


CTM’s strong supplier relationships played a critical role in the successful rebooking of flights. These relationships enabled RTM to:

  • secure seats on alternative carriers in advance of the general public
  • charter flight services to the exclusive benefit of CTM clients
  • to manage the substantial increase to workload, CTM opened its offices on Saturday and Sunday with 50 additional staff deployed across the national network.

All core communications platforms, including Travel Alerts, mobile communications, the Corporate Travel Management website and social media services, were utilised simultaneously to keep clients up to date with the evolving situation.

CTM also utilised its market leading mobile communications platform by sending automated notifications to activated clients giving them first-mover advantage when it came to seats on alternative carriers.


5000 travellers rebooked

CTM rebooked approximately 5000 travellers between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning, including 2000 clients attending the Victorian Racing Carnival

95% of travellers moved to alternate carriers

As a result of CTM’s excellent supplier relationships, 95% of affected clients were moved to alternative carriers, enabling minimal disruption to travel plans

Increased resources manage 1861% increase in call volume

CTM deployed additional resources to support its After Hours team, managing a 1861% increase in call volume with 80% of calls answered in under 5 minutes

CTM first TMC to Tweet

CTM was the first travel management company in Australia to Tweet about the breaking news, keeping clients informed and empowered to take action first

The results highlight that with good technology, effective use of social media and overall team collaboration, CTM achieved minimum disruptions for travellers.

Client Testimonials

“I just wanted to thank you and your staff for all the assistance given on Sunday with respect to our traveller’s arrangements. I initially spoke with Nicole who is normally from your Brisbane office but was at the Gold Coast for the weekend. Apparently, when she heard the news she just knew she had to get to the Gold Coast office.

Later in the evening (just before 9pm) I made a call to our affected traveller to see if any further assistance was required. He was sitting in a Brisbane hotel ready for his next day appointment!

I spoke again with the Gold Coast office a few times yesterday and even though I am sure all team members were tired, their professionalism shone through with their upbeat telephone manner and patience.”

Lisa Tucker – Executive Assistant – Aecom


“Compliments to all of the team at CTM on their handling of this extremely difficult and emotional event. I have received very positive feedback from our CFO regarding the professionalism and support that the CTM team provided to Monadelphous. Unfortunately it takes this type of occurrence to really bring home the benefits of a good TMC.”

Henk de Vos – Group Manager, Supply Chain - Monadelphous Group Limited


“Getting one of our travellers on the VA flight out of LAX was truly remarkable. With so many people stranded we feel very lucky that you were able to get him home to his family safely and on time. Once again thank you for going the extra mile – it is always appreciated.”

Sonya Lowry – Global Travel Manager – Linc Energy