Qantas has announced it will cut 6000 jobs as it takes drastic action to survive the COVID-19 pandemic with CEO Alan Joyce conceding it has to become a smaller airline in the short term.
Another 15,000 staff will remain stood down for months to come.
The airline will also bring forward the retirement of its iconic 747’s, with the six remaining aircraft to be taken out of service six months ahead of schedule.
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Up to 100 of Qantas’ aircraft will remain grounded for up to 12 months or longer, including the airline’s A380s.
The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the aviation industry with travel grinding to a halt around the world.
Qantas has warned it could be years before travel returns to normal, which will have a severe impact on its revenue.
The airline has today announced a three-year recovery plan aimed at saving $15 billion, while also announce equity raising of $1.9 billion.
“The Qantas Group entered this crisis in a better position than most airlines and we have some of the best prospects for recovery, especially in the domestic market, but it will take years before international flying returns to what it was,” Mr Joyce said.
“We have to position ourselves for several years where revenue will be much lower. And that means becoming a smaller airline in the short term.”
Mr Joyce says the loss of 6000 jobs is confronting and weighs heavily on them, but concedes they have little choice in the current climate.
The majority of job losses will come from cabin crew, ground operations and corporate roles.
Around 220 pilots will go, while another 2,900 will remain stood down.
The airline expects to shed around 630 engineering jobs.
“Most airlines will have to restructure in order to survive, which also means they’ll come through this leaner and more competitive. For all these reasons, we have to take action now.
“Adapting to this new reality means some very painful decisions. The job losses we’re announcing today are confronting. 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.”
Qantas says the JobKeeper program has made a big difference and has confirmed it is in talks with the Government to extend the support for the aviation industry.
Mr Joyce says he has every confidence the airline will survive the crisis.
“Despite the hard choices we’re making today, we’re fundamentally optimistic about the future.
“Almost two-thirds of our pre-crisis earnings came from the domestic market, which is likely to recover fastest – particularly as state borders prepare to open.”
Qantas expects around half of the 15,000 staff that have been stood down to be back working by the end of the year.
Mr Joyce has also agreed to remain in his role until 2023.