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Pilot boast giving Qantas cabin fever

Pilot boast giving Qantas cabin fever

The ongoing industrial dispute between Qantas and its 1650 long-haul pilots has claimed its highest profile victim to date. The airline confirmed yesterday that it has started replacing a pre-flight safety video starring John Travolta.

Just five months since installing the clip hosted by the Saturday Night Fever star on its jets, Qantas has argued that it was never meant to be a permanent fixture.

"John Travolta's introduction to the in-flight safety video was an initiative to help draw attention to this vital safety information, building on his established relationship with Qantas," said an airline spokesman.

"It was always intended as a temporary feature and we are looking at working with other Qantas partners on similar initiatives in future."

But the pilots union sees another motive at play, given the similarity between Travolta's message in the video to its own.

In the safety video, Travolta says: "There's no one I'd rather have at the controls than a Qantas pilot."

The Australian & International Pilots Association's motto in its industrial campaign against Qantas sourcing lower-paid pilots from overseas is: "When you board a Qantas flight, you expect a Qantas pilot." The association's vice-president, Richard Woodward, said: "Admittedly, the John Travolta in-flight video had its fair share of detractors, but the one line I think everyone agreed with was that there was no one you would rather have at the controls than a Qantas pilot. In simpler times, this would be an uncontroversial remark, but with Alan Joyce now eager to outsource Qantas pilot jobs overseas, well, suddenly Travolta is out of step with the chief executive officer."

It is unclear whether the Qantas CEO Alan "Tony Manero" Joyce could star in a future Qantas safety clip.

MOORE IS LESS

The (relatively) lean times at Macquarie Group have continued to be felt at the top, with the investment bank's chief executive Nick Moore seeing a swag of 160,000 options lapse on Monday night.

With the Silver Doughnut's share price trading at $27, the options which were exercisable at $61.79 were well out of the money.

It is one year since Moore saw another swag of 170,000 options exercisable at $63.34 lapse.

POISON PENS

The word count battle between the Gennadiy Bogolyubov-controlled Consolidated Minerals [ConsMin] and the Bermuda-domiciled OM Holdings has stepped up a gear after the Ukrainian billionaire launched a blistering attack on the manganese miner whose board he is seeking to spill.

After seeing his requisition of meeting to topple OM chairman Low Ngee Tong and director Tan Peng Chin knocked back on a word count technicality, Bogolyubov yesterday hit out at their use of Section 79-1b of the Bermudan Companies Act.

This is the part of the act which requires notices of meeting to be less than 1000 words. "You would think the OM board would want their shareholders to form a view based on more information rather than less, however this is clearly not the case," Bogolyubov said in a statement.

"This is another example of how OM cherry picks - selectively choosing to rely on technicalities under Bermudan law when it suits the interests of the incumbent board."

Despite arguing its original 955 word statement in the requisition of meeting (which was added with a 366 word biography of the two directors it is seeking to install, the former NSW Liberal leader Peter Debnam and Malcolm McComas), ConsMin now plans to lodge a second requisition of meeting that will be less than 1000 words in total.

The next question could relate to where the requisitioned meeting could be held.

After holding its recent shareholder meetings in Singapore, there is always the possibility OM could choose Bermuda for its next meeting.

BOILING OVER

Macquarie Group's former head of property Bill Moss has not let his failed attempt to snare management control of the Charter Hall Office fund silence his campaign against the excessive fees charged across the real estate investment trust (REIT) sector.

"The industry is over-bloated and over-paid," Moss declared in the industry newsletter I&T News.

"If the industry wants a future it needs to clean up its corporate governance, its fee structure and needs to create a model that is desired by all asset classes," said Moss, who in his last 12 months at Macquarie received $30.6 million in remuneration.

The Moss Capital founder, who helped steer the Charter Hall fund (and help set in place its current fee structure) when it was previously managed by Macquarie, compared the REIT sector to a boiling frog.

"If you put a frog in cold water and slowly heat the water until it boils the frog won't jump out of the boiling water. It will die," Moss told the newsletter.

"The industry is so comfortable in its own environment. It's a club. But they're scared. Are they perpetuating a gravy train for themselves?"

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