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Qantas to Slash 6,000 Jobs, Ground 100 Planes for at Least 12-Months and Retire 747s Immediately

Qantas to Slash 6,000 Jobs, Ground 100 Planes for at Least 12-Months and Retire 747s Immediately

Australian flag carrier Qantas will axe 6,000 jobs and ground 100 aircraft for at least 12-months as part of a raft of measures to help the airline slash costs by some A$15 billion over the next three years. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the Corona crisis had hit the airline “very hard”, and warned that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would “be felt for a long time”.

Hardest hit by the cost-cutting, Joyce admitted, would be Qantas employees, many of whom have already been stood down since March after a collapse in travel demand forced Qantas to ground planes and all but suspend its international operation. Now, the airline plans to permanently cut its 29,000-strong workforce by 20 per cent, while keeping thousands more on furlough for the foreseeable future.

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Photo Credit: BNE Airport

At least 1,050 cabin crew and 220 pilots are to be made redundant, while 1500 ground staff and 630 engineering jobs will also be lost in the shakeup. At Qantas’ head office in Sydney, 1,450 employees will face the axe and 15,000 employees who do keep their job will spend the remainder of the year on unpaid leave.

Qantas says it intends to slowly bring more employees back to work with the lifting of travel restrictions. Domestically, there are “green shoots” of recovery but the airline’s international operation, facing the possibility of the Australian border being closed until early next year, could face severe disruption until at least mid-2021.

As a result, Qantas will permanently retire it’s remaining six Boeing 747’s immediately – around half a year earlier than originally planned. 100 aircraft will remain grounded for at least 12 months, while the airline’s Airbus A380 fleet will likely stay parked up for much longer.

“Despite the hard choices we’re making today, we’re fundamentally optimistic about the future,” commented Joyce on Thursday. “We still have big ambitions for long haul international flights, which will have even more potential on the other side of this,” he continued.

Project Sunrise, the airline’s plan to fly non-stop between Sydney and Europe has been put on hold, however, and deliveries for new Boeing 787 Dreamliners have been deferred for the foreseeable future.

“This year was supposed to be one of celebration for Qantas. It’s our centenary,” Joyce explained. “Clearly, it is not turning out as planned.”

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