The strike disrupted travel for over 70,000 passengers who were booked to fly with the Australian company, the world’s 10th largest airline.

The decision to ground its entire fleet was taken on Saturday, responding to strikes by unions who represent the airline’s pilots, mechanics, caterers and baggage handlers.

Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Airways Ltd, told the ABC news channel in Australia: “I said on multiple occasions we could get to a stage where we’d have to ground the airline.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard was angered at the actions of the airline “I do not accept that Qantas’s only choice on Saturday was to take the extreme action of grounding all planes and leaving tens of thousands of passengers stranded.”

Back in August workers were stirred to unionised action by the airline’s proposal to open an Asia-based sister company, forcing a restructure of Qantas which was likely to cost over 1,000 jobs. This was despite the announcement that the company had made record profits.

The court ruling has effectively cancelled a staff lockout and forced flights to resume.

Around 600 flights have been cancelled due to union actions over the last few months. The 48 hour grounding is said to have cost Qantas £46 million.

Main image: Getty