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Qantas Grounds Fleet Worldwide In Labor Dispute

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UPDATE (Saturday, 8 p.m.): “Qantas has announced the cancellation of all domestic and international flights out of LAX until further notice including six departures and six arrivals on Sunday, October 30. Passengers are asked to check with Qantas Airlines directly for updates.” — Diana Sanchez, Assistant Public Relations Director, LAX

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A labor dispute has prompted Australian-based Qantas to ground its entire fleet worldwide.

The decision to stop all domestic and international flights was made in response to dispute between the company and three unions.

“We are locking out until the unions withdraw their extreme ‘claim and reach’ agreement with us,” said Australian Transport Minister Anthony Albanese.

With Saturday’s development, Albanese said he was worried about the future of the airline.

In a statement released Saturday, Qantas said QantasLink flights within the range of QF 1400 – 2699 were not affected by the grounding.

Only five flights – scheduled to leave from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) after 11 p.m. Saturday – are said to have been affected by the grounding, airport officials confirmed to CBS2.

Qantas operates about 108 aircraft in more than 20 countries and has about 35,000 employees.

Meantime, Air France is canceling some of its flights because cabin crews are on strike until next week, KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reported.

To check your flight status or obtain information on refunds/rebooking, visit Qantas online.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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