Qantas stands down 2,500 workers after huge drop in domestic flying

'This is clearly the last thing we want to do'

Qantas stands down 2,500 workers after huge drop in domestic flying

Qantas will stand down 2,500 workers for at least two months after state lockdowns caused the number of people flying interstate to plummet.

The airline made the announcement this morning, saying no job losses are expected as a result of the temporary measure. It’ll come as a devastating blow for the aviation workers who have been most severely impacted by the pandemic and faced ongoing uncertainty for more than a year.

The Qantas and Jetstar employees have been given a two-week notice before the standdown comes into effect and pay will continue until mid-August, Qantas confirmed. Without JobKeeper, employees will be relying on financial support from the NSW disaster payments scheme.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the decision reflected the reality facing 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.”

Joyce said that based on the current case numbers in Sydney, the airline is expecting the state border to remain closed for at least two months. Sydney recorded over 200 cases yesterday, predominantly in the west and south-west regions, with at least 50 people infectious in the community.

The Greater Sydney area will remain in lockdown until August 28, but many are bracing themselves for that date to be extended. South-east Queensland is also in lockdown until Sunday after a fresh outbreak of the ultra-infectious Delta variant. Currently there are 31 cases connected to that cluster, the majority of which are linked to a high school.

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