Jetstar refutes Australian media report that it pays foreign cabin crew only $100 a week base wage

A Jetstar passenger dropping off luggage at Changi Airport Terminal 1.
A Jetstar passenger dropping off luggage at Changi Airport Terminal 1.ST FILE PHOTO

Jetstar has responded to a media report that some of its cabin crew earn A$100 (S$100) a week as their base wage, calling it "very misleading."

Australian news outlet ABC News reported on its website on Tuesday (Aug 14) that the budget airline was "under fire for... paying (foreign cabin crews) a base pay of as little as $100 a week."

The story quoted a former Thailand-based member of Jetstar's cabin crew, Mr Pojchara Kosolchuenvijit, who had quit the company two weeks ago.

Mr Kosolchuenvijit told ABC that although cabin crews get paid A$13 an hour while flying, they spend a lot of time in Australia where the cost of living is higher.

"If you have only A$30, what can you eat for A$30 each day in Melbourne? It's nearly impossible", he said, claiming that the cabin crew at times had to "sneak in pots and electric pans to cook instant noodles in the hotel".

ABC said it had documents - posted online in the story - which showed that foreign cabin crew members were paid about A$60 for every 36 hours they spent away from home, as compared to the salary paid to locals which was about A$128.70 per night.

Jetstar told ABC that its Thailand-based crews "take home on average A$2,600 a month, depending on seniority, which is five times the average monthly Thai salary".

A Jetstar spokesman told The Straits Times that cabin crew salaries consist of a base wage plus flying hours and other allowances, adding: "The figure cited by 7.30 is based on zero flying hours and is not reflective of the average weekly earnings of our Thailand-based crew."

He further emphasised that the contracts and salaries of all its crew are compliant with employment laws, and are reviewed annually and benchmarked against market conditions and comparable airlines and industries.

ST understands that ABC's report referred to Jetstar Airways, part of the Jetstar Group which operates domestic and international services out of Australia.

Its Singapore counterpart, Jetstar Asia, does not have Thailand-based crew working for it.