Qantas Layoffs: 6,000 Lose Jobs As Coronavirus Pandemic Rages On

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The coronavirus pandemic has forced Qantas to cancel nearly all its international flights until at least October and slash domestic routes
The coronavirus pandemic has forced Qantas to cancel nearly all its international flights until at least October and slash domestic routes AFP / Saeed KHAN

Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, is laying off 6,000 of its employees in a bid to stay afloat amid the raging coronavirus pandemic. 

The airline made the announcement Thursday, adding to the growing number of layoffs worldwide. The staff cuts equate to 20% of the airline’s 29,000 workforce. Those most affected are corporate, ground and flight staff. Another 15,000 will remain on furlough, CNN noted. In March, it had furloughed 80% of its staff.

Qantas will also ground 100 planes for at least a year as international travel continues to suffer due to COVID-19 which continues to ravage the world. The company will also retire its six Boeing 747 jumbo jets six months ahead of schedule. 

The new measures aim to lower the airline’s costs by AU$15 billion over three years. It targets a further AU$1 billion of savings each year starting 2024.

“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,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement

Joyce admitted that prior to the start of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns, the company has been actively recruiting pilots, cabin crews and ground staff. This has made the decision to let go of staff “even harder.”

He also believes international travel will take years to return to normal. Joyce, however, added recovery in the domestic market looks promising. 

“Almost two-thirds of our pre-crisis earnings came from the domestic market, which is likely to recover fastest – particularly as state borders prepare to open.”

Australia continues to face the possibility of a “second wave” of the coronavirus as cases continue to rise. As of June 25, 6:21 p.m. AEST, there are 7,558 confirmed cases in the country and 104 deaths, Worldometer data reveals.

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