SYDNEY: About 10,000 passengers are facing lengthy delays at airports across Australia on Friday, as 70 Qantas flights have been cancelled due to industrial action by the airline's transport workers, the Australian flag carrier, Qantas said on Friday.
Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce has apologised to the airline' s passengers who are to be affected by the delays, reports Xinhua news agency.
"We urge the unions to stop this, to put to the table more realistic demands and to think about the jobs they're endangering around the country," he told the Nine Network, Australia's top- rating commercial television network.
"We've always said we want to do anything that will stop this disruption happening to our passengers - again I apologise to those customers that have been impacted by this."
The Transport Workers Union has confirmed Qantas baggage handlers and ground staff in major airports in Australia including Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin, Perth and Canberra will walk off the job for an hour at various times on Friday.
Friday's strike coincides with the Qantas annual general meeting in Sydney.
Qantas said about 70,000 passengers had already been affected by the recent months of industrial actions.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has called on the Federal Government to step in.
"This is getting worse and worse and I think it is time for the prime minister to get active," Abbott told the Nine Network on Friday.
"It is time for the prime minister to prove that her laws are consistent with a degree of protection for the traveling public."
But Assistant Treasurer and former union leader Bill Shorten said Qantas and the unions would be able to work out a solution.
"I have no doubt that there is a solution capable of being worked out by these parties," Shorten told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio.
"It's an important issue but timing is everything." - Bernama