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Two days after slashing international flights by 90 per cent, Qantas has announced it will suspend overseas services altogether by the end of the month, and stand down two-thirds of its workforce.
In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Qantas said the decision to halt all international flights until the end of May was prompted by the federal government’s recommendation against all overseas travel.
Discussions were continuing with the government about the need for some “strategic links” beyond March 31.
Domestic flights would continue, albeit at a much reduced frequency, to maintain connectivity within Australia.
The decisions would have a major impact on Qantas and Jetstar’s 30,000-strong workforce, with two-thirds, or 20,000 people to be stood down until at least the end of May.
“During the stand down, employees will be able to draw down on annual and long service leave and additional support mechanisms will be introduced including leave at half pay and early access to long service leave,” said the statement.
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CEO Alan Joyce said the coronavirus was having a devastating impact on all airlines.
“We’re in a strong financial position right now but our wages bill is more than $4bn a year. With the huge drop in revenue we’re facing, we have to make difficult decisions to guarantee the future of the national carrier,” Mr Joyce said.
“The reality is we’ll have 150 aircraft on the ground, and sadly there’s no work for most of our people. Rather than lose these highly skilled employees who we’ll need when this crisis passes, we are instead standing down two-thirds of our 30,000 employees until at least the end of May.”
This article first appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au
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