Jetstar pilots are unhappy they are paid less than comparable pilots working for other airlines including at Qantas, Virgin and Tiger.
“If we are not making reasonable progress in our negotiations we will explore other options and one of those is the potential for protected industrial action,” Mr Lutton said.
“It is not something we take lightly. We are still hopeful we will not need to take it, but we are putting in the next steps if it is required.”
A spokesman for Jetstar said it was disappointed the AFAP “has taken this step this early in negotiations”. “We remain committed to reaching a new agreement to support the great work our people do every day, but not any cost,” he said.
Mr Lutton said potential action could cross paths with the busy Christmas period. The right to strike would remain valid for three months.
“We would be able to take action after giving three or four days notice from early to mid-December,” he said.
“It could take place for any period after that if we haven’t made sufficient progress in pursuit of a fairer deal. This is about having the option to do it if we need to.”
The union will continue meeting with the company with the next bargaining negotiations scheduled for November 29.
Mr Lutton said about 680 of Jetstar’s workforce of 850 pilots were members of his union.