Coronavirus: Qantas to cut 6,000 jobs due to pandemic

Qantas has canceled all international flights until the end of October except for New Zealand.Image copyright
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Australia’s national airline says it has been hit “very hard” by the virus

Qantas will cut 6,000 workers in an attempt to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, the airline says.

The cuts amount to about a fifth of the airline’s workforce before the Covid-19 crisis. In March, it laid off two-thirds of its staff.

Australia’s national airline said the collapse of global air travel had devastated revenue.

Last week, the Australian government said its border is likely to remain closed until next year.

It pushed Qantas to cancel all international flights until the end of October, except for those to New Zealand.

On Thursday, Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the airline expected lower revenue in the next three years, forcing it to become a smaller operation to survive.

“The actions we must take will have a huge impact on thousands of our people,” he said in a statement.

“But the collapse of billions of dollars in revenue leaves us with few options if we want to save as many jobs as possible, in the long term.”

He added that Qantas, and its budget subsidiary Jetstar, would continue to extend a license for some 15,000 workers “while we wait for the recovery that we know is coming.”

The airline also plans to raise A $ 1.9 billion (£ 1.05 billion; $ 1.3 billion) in capital, its first such move in 10 years, to attract new funds and help “accelerate” its recovery.

Other short-term savings will be found in grounding its A380 fleet and deferring the purchase of new aircraft, he said.

Joyce said he estimated that domestic demand for flights would fully recover by 2022, but that international demand at the time would be half of what it was.

Australia’s other major operator, Virgin Australia, also suffered financially during the pandemic and fell into voluntary administration in April. Since then, he has received several purchase offers, he says.

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Earlier this month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned that the airline industry could suffer losses of more than $ 84 billion this year.