Job cuts and services axed as Virgin and Qantas hit turbulence

It’s been a rough week for the nation’s two main carriers with Virgin Australia and Qantas announcing job cuts and axing services in an effort to slash costs.

As part of its cost cutting measures following an underlying loss of $71.2 million last financial year, Virgin Australia has announced it will drop its Christchurch to Sydney service (from 29 April 2020), reduce its Auckland-Sydney service to 14 times a week, suspend its Melbourne to Hong Kong flight (from 11 February 2020), stop flying Gold Coast to Perth route (from 19 January 2020) and end its Canberra to Perth (from December 6 2019).

The carrier will also retire five aircraft and reduce its carrying capacity by 2 per cent as it looks for ways to return to profitability.

“Flying to the right destinations, with the right customer demand, and the right sized fleet with improve our financial performance,” said chief executive and managing director Paul Scurrah.

Virgin Australia is also slashing 750 jobs from the airline and reviewing its supplier arrangements.

“We’ll make sure all of the measures we can control are in far better shape next year and drives us towards profitability,” Scurrah said.

Qantas has also confirmed it will cut jobs in a head office restructure, although it is unclear how many will be affected.

Qantas chief Alan Joyce has flagged a “strong focus on cost reduction” given the “slower revenue environment” at a recent update.

A Qantas spoekperson said the carrier was still committed to growing the numbers of cabin crew, pilots and airport staff.

“In a business the size of Qantas, there is often change occurring,” the spokesperson said.