Australian airline Qantas is cutting more than 20% of its staff as it struggles to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation industry.
Some 6,000 of its 29,000 employees will be made redundant, with another 15,000 temporarily laid off, particularly those associated with international operations.
It is also grounding 100 aircraft for up to 12 months and some for longer, as well as retiring its six-strong remaining Boeing Co 747 fleet immediately, six months ahead of schedule.
And its chief executive Alan Joyce confirmed it plans to raise up to A$1.9 billion (£1bn) to help it try to weather the COVID crisis.
Outlining a three-year plan he said: “We have to position ourselves for several years when revenue will be much lower.
“And this means becoming a much smaller airline in the short term.”
He added that he did not expect to see a return to any sizeable operations until July 2021 at least.
In common with the aviation industry around the world, Qantas is battling against a huge drop in demand after countries closed their borders to try contain the global pandemic.
Thousands of jobs have already been lost across the sector In the UK alone as a result of the crisis, with British Airways announcing 12,000 will go, easyJet axing up to 4,500 staff and Ryanair shedding 3,000.
On Wednesday airport ground handling firm Swissport said it is planning to axe 4,556 jobs in the UK and Ireland – half its workforce – due to the impact of the coronavirus.
In a memo seen by Sky News, Swissport’s chief executive for western Europe, Jason Holt, said it had been “hit hard” by COVID-19 with revenues “almost completely lost”.
Mr Holt said: “The unfortunate fact is that there simply aren’t enough aircraft flying for our business to continue running as it did before the COVID-19 outbreak, and there won’t be again for some time to come.
“We must adapt to this new reality.”
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