Qantas has announced that they will be standing down around 2500 of their staff due to the current Sydney outbreaks and border closures.
The decision will impact the domestic pilots, cabin crew and airport workers across both Qantas and Jetstar, especially in New South Wales.
Affected staff will be given two weeks notice before the stand-down takes effect and will be given continuing pay until mid-August. After the two weeks, employees who are stood down will have to rely on government support payments.
Despite this, no further job losses are expected after last years huge redundancy program.
Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said that the decision was made due to the significant drop in operating since the start of the year.
“This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying and that means no work for a number of people,” he said.
“Qantas and Jetstar have gone from operating almost 100 percent of their usual domestic flying in May to less than 40 percent in July because of lockdowns in three states.”
Joyce also said they are hoping for their operations levels to increase over the next week as other state borders open.
“Hopefully, once other states open back up to South Australia and Victoria in the next week or so, and the current outbreak in Brisbane is brought under control, our domestic flying will come back to around 50 to 60 percent of normal levels.”
Joyce said that the employees will be stood down until the Greater Sydney area opens back up, which estimating by the current case numbers, will be in at least another two months.
“We know it will take a few weeks once the outbreak is under control before other states open to New South Wales and normal travel can resume,” he said.
“Fortunately, we know that once borders do reopen, travel is at the top of people’s list and flying tends to come back quickly, so we can get our employees back to work.”
He said that Australia just needs more people to be willing to roll up their sleeves as more of the vaccine arrives.
“The vaccine rollout means the end is in sight and the concept of lockdowns will be a thing of the past.”
“Higher vaccination rates are also key to being able to fly overseas again, and finally getting all our people back to work.”
Whilst having to stand down employees within their domestic crew, Joyce says that the challenge around international borders still remains.
“There are still several thousand Qantas and Jetstar crew who normally fly internationally and who have been on long periods of stand down since the pandemic began.”
Qantas have come under fire for this after recently the Morrison government unveiled a $100 million program to help domestic airlines retain their staff.
IMAGE: Qantas Headquarters by MDRX is used under a CC BY-SA 4.0 licence and is available HERE.