QANTAS: All international flights suspended (updated)
Content of this Post:
Qantas has been progressively cancelling flights and offering status extensions, but now they have gone full crisis:
- Qantas and Jetstar suspending scheduled international flights from late March
- some ongoing ad hoc international services possible
- 60 % drop to domestic flights, by frequency
- Two-thirds of employees to be stood down temporarily
- Payment of $201 million shareholder dividend deferred until September 2020
Repatriation of Australians
With the Australian Government now recommending against all overseas travel with its ‘DO NOT TRAVEL level 4 warning, regularly scheduled Qantas and Jetstar international flights will continue until late March to help with the repatriation of Australians from overseas. They will then be suspended until at least the end of May 2020.
Qantas is in continuing discussions with the Australian Government about maintaining some strategic links.
Aircraft grounded – freight flights maintained
150+ aircraft will be grounded. This includes all A380s, 747s and B787-9s and Jetstar’s B787-8s.
Essential domestic, regional and freight connections will be maintained as much as possible. Indeed Qantas is planning to repurpose some passenger aircraft for use as freight carriers.
- All scheduled Qantas and Jetstar international flights from Australia will be suspended from end March to at least end May 2020. Some flights may continue based on discussions with the Australian Government.
- Jetstar Asia (Singapore) suspending all flights from 23 March to at least 15 April 2020.
- Jetstar Japan suspending international flights and cutting domestic flying.
- Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) has suspended international flights and will cut most domestic flights.
To attain its target of 60 % domestic capacity reduction Qantas, Jetstar and QantasLink will be reducing the frequency, while trying to maintain connectivity to most domestic and regional destinations. In fact, I have been affected by a cancellation today, and have had to reschedule my Adelaide-Sydney flight due to a flight cancellation. I must say, the seating plan shows my new flight as less than half full.
There will be some route suspensions and some postponement of scheduled new route launches. You can find full details here.
Staff stood down
Qantas and Jetstar are standing down the majority of their 30,000 employees until – at least the end of May 2020. This is massive!
Stood down employees can draw on their annual and long service leave. Qantas is also introducing some new options including drawing half-pay, and giving staff early access to long service leave. They will also allow staff to use leave-in-advance (up to 4 weeks) if they don’t have a leave balance. Having said all that, there will be stood down staff who will be without pay. That may complicate their ability to access social service payments.
More management salary cuts – to avoid a PR disaster
Senior Group Management Executives and the Board are increasing their salary reductions from 30 % to 100 % until at least the end of the current financial year. The Chairman and Alan Joyce the Group CEO will take no pay for the same period, and as previously announced there will be no annual management bonuses.
The previously announced share dividend due on 9 April, is now being delayed until 1 September.
Information for Customers
As you can imagine the usual customer service channels of phone, chat and social media are being flooded, and consequently have long delays. Most customers will be able to change or cancel flights online, and that’s where you should do it, or via your travel agent, or third-party website if that’s who your booking was made through.
If that can’t be done, then only call the Qantas assistance line if your travel occurs in the next 48 hours.
I think today should be proclaimed ‘be kind to flight attendants day’. They probably aren’t sure what their next shift will be, or whether they will be earning, on leave or what.