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Coronavirus In Australia: Qantas Cuts 6,000 Jobs, Says International Travel Will Not Resume Until July 2021

15,000 employees to remain stood down temporarily
Qantas 737-800 aircraft parked on the east-west runway at Sydney Airport.
James D. Morgan via Getty Images
Qantas 737-800 aircraft parked on the east-west runway at Sydney Airport.

* Seperate to the 6,000, 15,000 employees will remain stood down temporarily

* 100 aircraft on ground for up to 12 months, some longer

* A380s to be grounded for three years

Qantas said on Thursday it is axing at least 20% of its workforce as part of drastic measures in response to the coronavirus crisis.

About 6000 people will lose their jobs, including cabin crew and ground staff, while the airline will temporarily stand down 15,000 workers.

Australia’s national carrier also said it will ground 100 aircraft for up to 12 months and some for longer, as well as retire its six-strong remaining Boeing Co 747 fleet immediately, six months ahead of schedule in order to become “a much smaller airline.”

The company’s A380 planes will be grounded in the Mojave Desert, a US location that provides the best weather elements to maintain the giant aircrafts.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said it was a “painful decision” as it’s not unusual to have several members of the one family working at Qantas and Jetstar and many workers have been at the company for decades.

“The job losses we’re announcing today are confronting,” he told reporters via a teleconference.

“So is the fact thousands more of our people on stand down will face a long interruption to their airline careers until this work returns.

“What makes this even harder, is that right before the crisis hit, we were actively recruiting. We were … getting ready to buy planes. Now we’re facing a sudden reversal of fortunes that is no one’s fault but is very hard to accept.”

Joyce said international flights will likely not resume until July 2021.

Along with other airlines around the world, Qantas is battling against a huge drop in demand after countries including Australia closed their borders to try contain the global pandemic.

Australian officials have said the country is unlikely to open to international travellers until next year, although they will consider relaxing entry rules for students and other long-term visitors.

Joyce has agreed to stay on as chief executive until at least June 2023 as part of the plan, the cost of which will mostly be logged in the year ending June 30, 2021.

“Most airlines will have to restructure in order to survive, which also means they’ll come through this leaner and more competitive,” he added. “For all these reasons, we have to take action now.”

Additional reporting by Jamie Freed of Reuters.

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