Qantas to axe 6000 staff as airline goes into trading halt

Qantas will axe around 20 per cent of its staff across both its namesake carrier and Jetstar as it transitions into a “smaller airline” to survive the Covid-19 crisis.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says about 6000 staff will lose their jobs, including cabin crew, ground staff and Sydney head office workers, as the company makes “painful decisions” to remain viable. The announcement was made as the company went into a trading halt.

Another 15,000 workers will remain stood down for some time, with just over half expected to return to work by the end of the year.

The carrier will also ground at least 100 aircraft for up to a year or longer, and reduce costs by $15 billion over the next three years.

“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,” Joyce 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.”

As restrictions ease across states, Qantas domestic flights are starting to recover, but the outlook for the resumption of international services is grim, with travel overseas “likely to be stalled for a long time”.

“We’re now facing a sudden reversal of fortune that is no one’s fault, but is very hard to accept,” said Joyce.

“This crisis has left us no choice but we’re committed to providing those affected with as much support as we can.

“That includes preserving as many jobs as possible through stand downs, offering voluntary rather than compulsory redundancies where possible, and providing large severance payouts for long serving employees in particular.”