Qantas has stood down one of its captains after he threatened to go on strike.
The pilot had refused to carry out extra work on board QF30 from Hong Kong to Melbourne, as part of the Australian and International Pilots Association's (AIPA) ongoing disagreement with the airline.
The pilot, Captain Steven Anderson, was stood down because AIPA informed Qantas he would not extend his tour of duty on the flight, which is due to take off on this evening.
"This means if the flight is delayed or diverted due to weather, medical emergencies, mechanical issues or air traffic control instructions, he may not continue flying," a Qantas spokesman said.
Captain Anderson was stood down on Thursday and told he would have his pay docked, AIPA told AAP. He remains in Hong Kong.
"Qantas is not prepared to risk passengers being delayed getting to Melbourne because the captain wants to take industrial action," the Qantas spokesman said.
The incident is the latest development in the long-haul pilot's low-key industrial action against Qantas, which began on June 22 and which the union says will now continue for at least three more weeks.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is due to announce the results of a review of the carrier's international business and publish full-year earnings on that date.
Other action taken by AIPA members has included a Qantas captain holding a two-minute meeting with himself at London Heathrow Airport last Sunday.
Another pilot, believed to be Capt Anderson, also refused to wear his cap during a flight.
Pilots are playing announcements to Qantas passengers about the dispute.
AIPA says it has opted to carry out low-key industrial action to minimise disruption.
It says pilots will also, in the near future, stop responding to text messages from Qantas confirming they are ready to sign on for work and stop using a Qantas flight operations website set up for pilots.
There are no current plans to escalate the industrial action beyond the low-key element, AIPA said today.
The union released polling today which it says shows the industrial action has public support.
The poll showed 56 per cent of 1053 respondents had "total support" for Qantas pilots and AIPA, it said.
The union is demanding that all Qantas jets be flown by a Qantas pilot or a pilot on conditions equal to the Qantas pilot agreement.
It has called for pilots flying on Qantas affiliates such as Jetstar and New Zealand-based subsidiary Jetconnect, to have the same wages and conditions as Qantas pilots.
The Qantas spokesman said: "The pilots' union is trying to force all Qantas subsidiaries, including Jetstar, to pay the same premium pay and conditions as Qantas".
"The union is also demanding pay increases and free flights on top of already heavily discounted airfares.
"If Qantas was to give the unions what they want it would drive up airfares, cost jobs and make Qantas airlines and routes unprofitable."