BREAKING | Qantas to stand down majority of their 30,000 workers

Heartbreaking news for Qantas staff this morning, with the airline announcing they will be temporarily standing down almost all of their 30,000 employees as they deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Qantas also confirmed they will be suspending all of their international flights from the end of March through to May, following similar measures announced by Virgin Australia yesterday.

“The efforts to contain the spread of Coronavirus have led to a huge drop in travel demand, the likes of which we have never seen before. This is having a devastating impact on all airlines,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement.


“With the Federal Government now recommending against all overseas travel from Australia, regularly scheduled international flights will continue until late March to assist with repatriation and will then be suspended until at least the end of May 2020.”

As a result, more than 150 aircraft will be temporarily grounded, including all of Qantas’ A380s, 747s and B787-9s and Jetstar’s B787-8s.

The domestic routes will remain relatively unchanged, however there will be less daily flights to and from states.

“The Group will maintain connectivity to almost all Australian domestic and regional destinations that Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar currently operate to,” Qantas said.

“The 60 per cent reduction in capacity will come mostly from a significant reduction in flight frequency, but also route suspensions and postponing a number of new route launches.”

Mr Joyce said the airline has had to make the tough decision to stand down two-thirds of their 30,000 employees until at least the end of May.

“We’re in a strong financial position right now, but our wages bill is more than $4 billion a year. With the huge drop in revenue we’re facing, we have to make difficult decisions to guarantee the future of the national carrier,” he said.

“The reality is we’ll have 150 aircraft on the ground and sadly there’s no work for most of our people. Rather than lose these highly skilled employees who we’ll need when this crisis passes, we are instead standing down two-thirds of our 30,000 employees 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.

“This is a very hard set of circumstances for our people, as it is for lots of parts of the community right now.”

More to come.