Around 2,500 frontline Qantas and Jetstar employees will be stood down for an estimated two months in response to ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks in Australia.
The stand down is a “temporary measure” to deal with a significant drop in flying caused by Covid-19 restrictions in Greater Sydney in particular and the knock-on border closures in all other states and territories.
No job losses are expected, the carrier added.
The decision will directly impact domestic pilots, cabin crew and airport workers, mostly in New South Wales but also in other states given the nature of airline networks.
Employees will be given two weeks’ notice before the stand down takes effect, with pay continuing until mid-August.
Income support in the form of government disaster payments will be key to helping eligible employees get through this challenging period and the Qantas Group said it welcomed the targeted Federal Government support offered for those stood down outside of declared hotspots and to retain domestic aviation capability.
Qantas Group chief executive, Alan Joyce, said the difficult decision to trigger stand downs reflected the reality confronting many businesses operating in New South Wales.
“This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying and that means no work for a number of our people.
“We’ve absorbed a significant amount of cost since these recent lockdowns started and continued paying our people their full rosters despite thousands of cancelled flights.
“Qantas and Jetstar have gone from operating almost 100 per cent of their usual domestic flying in May to less than 40 per cent in July because of lockdowns in three states.
“Hopefully, once other states open back up to South Australia and Victoria in the next week or so, and the current outbreak in Brisbane is brought under control, our domestic flying will come back to around 50 to 60 per cent of normal levels.”