Qantas to axe 1,500 jobs and freeze all expansion plans

Qantas is cutting 1,500 jobs worldwide in response to high oil prices and the economic downturn. It has also put its expansion plans on hold and implemented a hiring freeze.CEO of Qantas Airways Limited, Geoff Dixon said every effort would be made to achieve the job cuts through voluntary redundancy, early retirements, leave without pay, an accelerated leave program and converting positions from full-time to part time.

“However, some compulsory redundancies will be necessary, which we regret,” Mr Dixon said. “The jobs to be cut will be principally concentrated in non-operational areas, although operational positions will also go.”

“Over 20% of our management and head office support jobs will be cut,” he added. “The redundancy programme will be completed by December.”

As a result of this move, the Qantas group will:

- maintain a recruitment and executive pay freeze for the foreseeable future;
-reduce forecast capacity growth in 2008/09 from 8% to nil growth;
- retire up to 22 older aircraft from its fleet of 228 (including announcements previously made);
- close its long-running call centres in Tucson, Arizona and London at a cost of 99 jobs, and concentrate all its call centre activity in Australia and New Zealand;
- suspend Jetstar’s recruitment program until the end of the year, including its recruitment of pilots under the 457 visa programme;
- close Jetstar’s cabin crew and pilot base in Adelaide by the end of August, with Jetstar’s 37 return weekly Adelaide flights to remain and be serviced by aircraft and staff based in Darwin and Sydney.

Qantas also plans to:

- proceed with its major fleet re-equipment programme of new and more fuel efficient aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787; and

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- proceed with its customer-focused product and service initiatives such as domestic Business class lounges, terminal facilities and opening the new Qantas Customer Service Centre of Excellence.
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