Qantas grounds entire fleet

QANTAS has grounded its entire domestic and international fleets indefinitely - stranding tens of thousands of passengers - as it declared it would lock out all workers engaged in industrial action.

Announcing the unprecedented action against three unions, Qantas's chief executive, Alan Joyce, said the drastic strategy meant the cancellation of all flights, effective immediately.

The federal government have sought an urgent hearing of Fair Work Australia to terminate all industrial action by both Qantas and the unions.

Mr Joyce said he was forced into the drastic action because the unions threatened to carry on industrial action until next year. The dispute had caused $70 million damage to the airline and would cost $15 million for every week that the dispute dragged on.

''They are trashing our strategy and our brand,'' Mr Joyce said. ''They are deliberately destabilising the company and there is no end in sight.''