Qantas: more staff possibly out the door
Senate inquiries, often perceived as dull, or as a way to make public servants squirm, can also be uncomfortable for aviation executives.
Andrew David who heads up Qantas domestic and international business conceded to a senate inquiry that there may be more staff cuts at the airline. He couldn’t rule out another round of redundancies in the light of international borders remaining shut, and JobKeeper subsidies disappearing at the end of March this year.
When asked about redundancies he responded:
“There may be more. ”Andrew David, Qantas domestic and international
Qantas already has 9,000 staff stood down – mostly from its international division, and has already announced 8,500 redundancies.
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Qantas along with Virgin Australia have been requesting the prolonging of the JobKeeper wage subsidy, arguing – quite rightly in my opinion – that the Aviation industry is a special case given international and revolving-door state border closures excused by COVID-19.
Government support could be crucial to the financial health of the sector given the current state of aviation. However, the executives at the inquiry stopped short of saying there would be jobs saved if JobKeeper for the Aviation industry or AirKeeper – was implemented.
The senate inquiry also heard from the Qantas executives that they wanted other forms of support including fee relief and the underwriting of unprofitable routes to be extended until international borders have reopened, which Qantas is currently forecasting as October 2021 – when the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines across Australia is planned to be completed.
The government is forecasting an announcement on industry support before the end of March.
The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.
It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.
This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.
It’s hard to do the sums on how many people will lose their jobs at Qantas once this is all over.
Last year it announced 8,500 redundancies. In addition 2,500 staff are being replaced by outsourced workers. And 9,000 mainly from international are already ‘stood down’.
Qantas pre-COVID-19 had around 25,000 staff, so I think they are more than halving their staff. That’s a lot of service staff, engineers, and flight crew in the dole queue.
What did you say?