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Qantas to ‘Stand Down’ at Least Two-Thirds of Employees, Plans to Redeploy Some into Overstretched Supermarkets

Qantas to ‘Stand Down’ at Least Two-Thirds of Employees, Plans to Redeploy Some into Overstretched Supermarkets

Qantas has reopened recruitment for international cabin crew out of Sydney and Melbourne

The Australian flag carrier, Qantas will stop all international flights until at least the end of May, ground more than 150 aircraft and temporarily stand down at least two-thirds of its employees as the carrier fights for survival amidst the COVID-19 crisis. The decision to pull the plug on all international flights came after the Australian government issued a Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ warning on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Qantas announced drastic plans to slash capacity on long-haul international flights by up to 90 per cent but the Coronavirus pandemic quickly deteriorated, leaving the airline’s plans in tatters.

The entire fleet of Qantas Airbus A380’s will be parked up, along with all of its Boeing 747’s and 787 Dreamliners. Some of these aircraft may be brought back into service but only used to increase freighter capacity.

Some international services will continue over the next couple of weeks but these few remaining flights will be wrapped up by the end of March. Qantas said it was “in talks” with the Federal government about maintaining “some strategic links” – presumably with funding from the government.

With all international flights grounded and a 60 per cent reduction in domestic flights, Qantas says it is now forced to ‘stand down’ at least two-thirds of its 30,000 strong workforce. Some employees will be able to take advantage of paid leave options but others will be forced to take unpaid leave until at least the end of May.

“Most of our people will be using various types of paid leave during this time, and we’ll have a number of support options in place. We’re also talking to our partners like Woolworths about temporary job opportunities for our people,” explained chief executive Alan Joyce.

“This is a very hard set of circumstances for our people, as it is for lots of parts of the community right now,” he continued. “No airline in the world is immune to this.”

Joyce will forego all of his wages between now and June, while other executives have also cut their pay by 30 per cent.

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