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Qantas and Jetstar will cancel almost all international flights and make deep cuts to domestic flights as travel demand collapses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The group will slash international capacity by 90 per cent from the end of March until at least the end of May, a steep increase on the 23 per cent capacity cuts announced last week.
Domestic capacity cuts will increase 60 per cent over the same period, a major jump on the 5 per cent reduction last week.
The domestic cancellations reflect "a rapid decline in forward travel demand due to government containment measures, corporate travel bans and a general pullback from everyday activities across the community", Qantas said in a statement.
About 150 aircraft will be grounded, including almost all wide-body aircraft in the fleet.
The exact Qantas and Jetstar flights and affected are not yet known and will be announced in coming days.
The cuts are the equivalent of grounding 150 planes.CREDIT:GETTY
The company blamed the cuts on the "severe quarantine requirements" due to the travel bans imposed by countries around the world.
Qantas now faces a "significant labour surplus" across the group, but has so far avoided making redundancies.
Staff are being asked to take paid and unpaid leave, while chief executive Alan Joyce and senior management will take pay cuts.
"Travel demand is unlikely to rebound for weeks or possibly months and the impact of this will be felt across the entire workforce of 30,000 people," the company said.
Senior government sources have told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that a plan to waive more than $1 billion in levies imposed by Airservices Australia will also be considered, which would save Qantas about $350 million and Virgin around $180 million.
This is the fifth flight reduction announcement Qantas has made since the coronavirus outbreak began.
These new flight cuts until the end of May come on top of those already announced which extend until mid-September.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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