Monday, April 13, 2009

Qantas to park 10 aircraft and cut 1,750 jobs

Qantas logoBig news from Australia: Qantas is planning a major capacity reduction, and will downsize its staff, due to a "rapid and significant deterioration of trading conditions in the past few weeks".  Among the 1,750 jobs cut will be 500 management positions.  

An article about the Qantas capacity reduction plans in The Australian quoted the carrier's CEO, Alan Joyce, who said, "We employ over 34,000 people and we are striving to protect as many of their jobs as possible, but the capacity reductions to protect the long-term viability of the overall Qantas Group mean that up to 1,250 equivalent full-time positions will be affected in addition to the management reductions being made."  

The Australian reports that Qantas "would try to use a range of workforce initiatives to manage the downturn such as annual leave, long service leave, attrition, redeployment, leave without pay, promoting part-time work and exploring job-sharing" in order to mitigate the number of redundancies, but that jobs losses "would be inevitable."

The Australian flag carrier plans to reduce passenger capacity by 5% on both domestic and international routes. A reduction in freight capacity is in the works as well.  To that end, Qantas will park 10 aircraft and put them up for sale.  At least one source mentioned that those aircraft would be widebody planes, including Boeing 747s and Boeing 767s.  Qantas also plans to defer deliveries on new aircraft, including four Airbus A380s and a dozen Boeing 737-800s. 

In late 2008, Qantas reduced its worldwide work force by 1,500.  That round of job cuts included the closure of the Jetstar crew base at Adelaide.  No word yet on how many crew jobs will be lost in the current round of cuts.

Tony Sheldon of the Transport Workers Union of Australia said the union would seek urgent meetings with Qantas to discuss the lay‐offs.

"We will be talking to Qantas about how staff can be retained over this period with preference given to the retention of direct‐hire staff. We will also be talking to them about the recall of affected staff as the situation improves," Sheldon said.