Qantas and Jetstar have announced that two-thirds of their employees will be temporarily stood down from the end of the month.
The majority of the airline group’s 30,000 employees would be stood down until at least the end of May. Employees will be able to draw on annual and long service leave, although the airline says periods of leave without pay are likely.
The move comes after an announcement the airlines will suspend all international flights from late March following the government’s travel advice surrounding coronavirus.
Qantas will also reduce domestic flights by 60 per cent.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the current coronavirus crisis meant “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 (them down),” he said.
“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.”