Qantas knocked out of the sky

Earlier this week, Qantas and Jetstar announced a 90 per cent reduction in international flights and a 60 per cent reduction of its domestic load.

Today, Qantas has announced a suspension of all scheduled international Qantas and Jetstar flights from Australia.

In order to preserve as many jobs as possible longer term, Qantas and Jetstar will also stand down the majority of their 30,000 employees until at least the end of May.

“The efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus have led to a huge drop in travel demand, the likes of which we have never seen before. This is having a devastating impact on all airlines,” said Qantas Group chief Alan Joyce.

“We’re in a strong financial position right now, but our wages bill is more than $4 billion 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.

“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.”

“Most of our people will be using various types of paid leave during this time, and we’ll have a number of support options in place. We’re also talking to our partners, like Woolworths, about temporary job opportunities for our people.

“This is a very hard set of circumstances for our people, as it is for lots of parts of the community right now.

“No airline in the world is immune to this, with the world’s leading carriers making deep cuts to flying schedules and jobs. Our strong balance sheet means we’ve entered this crisis in better shape than most and we’re taking action to make sure we can ride this out.

“Since this crisis started, there has been overwhelming support from our customers. That gives me even more confidence that we’ll get through this,” he concluded.

Qantas and Jetstar have released amended policies, in light of increased travel restrictions being implemented by various governments around the world due to the evolving coronavirus situation.

“Following the introduction of increased travel restrictions from governments around the world, Qantas and Jetstar are introducing greater flexibility for customers booked on all domestic and international flights,” said Qantas Group chief customer officer Stephanie Tully.

So, what happens to anyone who has flights booked?

“We’re converting all bookings on cancelled flights to a travel credit, which can be used anywhere on our network,” Qantas said in a statement.

“Affected customers will be contacted directly from next Monday. Any customers travelling before the end of May who wish to change their booking are also eligible to receive a travel credit instead.”

Customers have been asked to access online services rather than calling Qantas and Jetstar contact centres, unless they had plans to travel before 21 March 2020.

How will the cancellations and travel bans affect you?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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