Earlier this week,
Qantas and Jetstar confirmed
plans to cut 90 per cent of international flights and about 60 per
cent of domestic flights.
Now, with the Australian Federal Government recommending
against all overseas travel from Australia, the Qantas Group has
announced that regularly scheduled
international flights will continue until late March to assist
with repatriation and will then be suspended until at least the
end of May 2020.
As the national carrier, Qantas is in ongoing
discussions with the Federal Government about continuation of some
strategic links, but nothing has yet been confirmed.
More than 150 aircraft will be temporarily
grounded, including all of Qantas’ A380s, 747s and B787-9s and
Qantas has said that essential domestic, regional and freight
connections will be maintained “as much as possible”.
Qantas’ fleet of freighters will continue to be
fully utilised. Some domestic passenger aircraft will also be used
for freight-only flights to replace lost capacity from regular
The Qantas Group is making the following changes
to its international network:
• ALL regularly scheduled Qantas and Jetstar
international flights from Australia will be suspended from end
March until at least the end of May 2020. Some flights may continue in
order to maintain key links, based on ongoing discussions with the
• Jetstar Asia (Singapore) will suspend ALL flights from 23 March
until at least 15 April 2020.
• Jetstar Japan has suspended international
flights and cut domestic flying.
• Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) has suspended
international flights and will significantly cut domestic flying.
In order to preserve as many jobs as possible
longer term, Qantas and Jetstar will stand down the majority of
their 30,000 employees until at least the end of May 2020.
During the stand down, employees will be able to
draw down on annual and long service leave and additional support
mechanisms will be introduced, including leave at half pay and
early access to long service leave. Employees with low leave
balances at the start of the stand down will be able to access up
to four weeks’ leave in advance of earning it. Periods of leave without pay for some employees are inevitable,
Qantas has said.
Senior Group Management Executives and the Board
have increased their salary reductions from 30 per cent to 100 per
cent until at least the end of this financial year, joining the
Chairman and Group CEO in taking no pay. Annual management bonuses
have also been cancelled.
Given the current extraordinary circumstances, a
decision has been made to defer payment of the shareholder
dividend announced on 20 February from 9 April until 1 September
2020. This is in addition to the cancellation of the off-market
buy back, previously announced.
Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, “The efforts to
contain the spread of Coronavirus have led to a huge drop in
travel demand, the likes of which we have never seen before. This
is having a devastating impact on all airlines. We’re in a strong
financial position right now, but our wages bill is more than $4
billion a year. With the huge drop in revenue we’re facing, we
have to make difficult decisions to guarantee the future of the
national carrier. The reality is we’ll have 150 aircraft on the
ground and 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 down two-thirds of our
30,000 employees until at least the end of May.”
“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. No airline in the world
is immune to this, with the world’s leading carriers making deep
cuts to flying schedules and jobs. Our strong balance sheet means
we’ve entered this crisis in better shape than most and we’re
taking action to make sure we can ride this out. Since this crisis
started, there has been overwhelming support from our customers.
That gives me even more confidence that we’ll get through this,”
added Mr. Joyce.
Customer contact centres are currently
experiencing long wait times. To help manage the
demand, Qantas asks that customers only call if they have travel within
the next 48 hours.
To avoid further inconvenience, Qantas is converting
all bookings on cancelled flights to a travel credit, which can be
used anywhere on our network. Affected customers will be contacted
directly from next Monday (23 March 2020). Any customers
travelling before the end of May who wish to change their booking
are also eligible to receive a travel credit instead.
If flights were booked through a travel agency or
third-party website (e.g. Webjet, Booking.com), customers will
need to contact them directly to make changes to their booking.