P.M. BRIEFING : Australian Pilots Resign en Masse

From Times wire services

Australia's domestic airline pilots resigned en masse today after airlines started firing them individually over a pay dispute that has shut down the nation's air services.

Desperate travelers thwarted by a shutdown of domestic services were flying even 1,200 miles to New Zealand and back just to hop from one Australian city to another.

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots delivered the 1,600 resignations to airlines after the companies started taking legal action against individual pilots.

Neither side would comment on the move, which aviation industry analysts said could cause the airlines serious financial problems because some pilots were entitled to pension and long-service payments of more than $380,000 each.

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