Qantas releases 6,000 workers as part of COVID-19 recovery plan
Anticipating falling revenues as the global airline industry continues to be crippled by COVID-19, Australian flagship carrier Qantas is cutting 6,000 staff, or about a fifth of its workforce before the pandemic struck.
Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Group, said, “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.”
Besides the planned layoffs, half of Qantas’ staff would remain on leave for months, while 100 flights, including most of the airline’s international fleet, will remain grounded for up to a year.
In March, Qantas grounded around 150 aircraft and furloughed more than 80% of its staff. Jetstar, Qantas’ budget subsidiary, would continue to extend a furlough for about 15,000 workers.
In addition to the AUD$15 billion these cost-cutting measures are expected to bring, Qantas also plans to raise $1.9 billion in equity to accelerate its recovery.
Earlier this month, the Australian government said the country’s borders are likely to remain closed until 2021, while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had previously warned that global airline revenues, having declined 55% on 2019 levels, is not expected to rebound within the next three years.