An Australian flag carrier Qantas Airways decided to cut 2,000 more staff and outsource baggage handling in a bid to save more than $100 million. The airline has already cut up to 8,500 jobs out of a pre-COVID-19 workforce of 29,000.

On November 30, 2020, the Australian air carrier notified around 2,000 employees that its ground handling operations would be outsourced at 10 airports across Australia with an aim to recover from the COVID-19 crisis faster and reduce its annual costs by $103 million. The decision came as an additional measure to a total of 8,500 ground crew redundancies which were made back in June and August 2020.

Andrew David, the Chief Executive of Domestic and International Operations at Qantas Airways, described the measure to reduce the workforce as a “tough day for Qantas”. In a press release, David explained that while the government considered lifting internal border restrictions to boost domestic tourism, the recovery of international travel levels to pre-COVID levels was expected to occur only in 2024.

“Unfortunately, COVID has turned aviation upside down. Airlines around the world are having to make dramatic decisions in order to survive and the damage will take years to repair. We have a massive job ahead of us to repay debt and we know our competitors are aggressively cutting costs to emerge leaner,“ announced David.

The Chief Executive of Domestic and International Operations indicated that Qantas did not have any plans for further layoffs at this stage unless the pandemic-related crisis worsened. Qantas Group reported a $2.7 billion loss in FY 2020 while suffering a $4 billion hit to its revenue, the financial results showed. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the group took up to $1.5 billion in extra debt expecting to suffer a fall in its revenue by $10 billion at the end of FY 2020.