The executive parachuted into Qantas' top job when her predecessor took off early amid reputational turbulence will have to attend mediation with the head of a union whose recent court win is partly responsible for the company's woes.
One week on from a unanimous High Court judgment that the airline had illegally sacked almost 1700 workers, Justice Michael Lee made orders in the Federal Court on Wednesday to move the matter towards resolution.
"There's (1700) people whose lives have been affected together with their families," Justice Lee said.
He wants it resolved quickly, noting the matter has been delayed considerably by appeals, and calling for decision-makers to attend on the day.
Recently designated Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson will need to attend, as will Transport Workers' Union national secretary Michael Kaine, when the parties meet to discuss compensation.
A date for substantive mediation is due to be finalised on Monday.
Qantas' barrister Richard Dalton KC asked to send the company's in-house general counsel Andrew Finch in Ms Hudson's place when mediation occurs.
Justice Lee said he understood busy schedules for the two figureheads would present logistical challenges, but he did not want the matter attended to by a lawyer on their own.
"I want the CEO and the person leading the union there," Justice Lee said.
Solicitors and barristers will also attend.
The union's barrister Mark Gibian SC also requested an employee representative from Qantas Airways and Qantas Ground Services be present.
The airline outsourced the ground workers' jobs in 2020 while losing billions of dollars as the pandemic decimated aviation.
Justice Lee was concerned by mediation becoming unwieldy with too many attendees but indicated approval for two delegates to attend.
The High Court decision last week added to Qantas' ongoing reputational challenges.
"You'd have to be the equivalent of Rip Van Winkle not to see there has been some publicity," Justice Lee said, referring to last week's legal determination.
Elsewhere, the airline faces action by the consumer watchdog seeking a $250 million fine, alleging it sold customers tickets on flights it had already cancelled.
Former CEO Alan Joyce left two months early to "help the company accelerate its renewal".
"The best thing I can do under these circumstances is to bring forward my retirement," Mr Joyce said in September.
Qantas posted an underlying profit of almost $2.5 billion for the 2022/23 financial year, almost as much as the $2.7 billion in government subsidies it received during the pandemic.
"The company is experiencing an acute loss of trust from the community, and accumulated disappointment from customers, which the board and management are determined to fix," Qantas chairman Richard Goyder said on Wednesday in a statement accompanying its annual report.
He noted the report gives detail "on our financial and non-financial performance, which is positive in many respects".
Amid criticism and perceptions the airline, privatised in the 1990s, remained too close to Canberra's halls of power, Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie this month accused the government of running a "protection racket for the most complained about company in our country".
A parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday examined the Albanese government's decision to block Qatar Airways' bid for more flights, where Qantas' former chief economist Tony Webber said increased inbound tourism could have been worth up to $1 billion.
However, Transport Minister Catherine King has said the rejection was made in the context of 13 Australian women being detained and forced to undergo invasive examinations at Doha's international airport in 2020, after a baby was found abandoned in a bin.