Qantas idles 2,500 staff over border closures in Australia

On August 3, 2021, Qantas announced it would temporarily stand down around 2,500 employees. The move comes as domestic borders in Australia remain closed due to the ongoing pandemic. However, Qantas assured that no job losses are expected. 

In a statement, Australia’s flag-carrier said that idling employees was a temporary measure to deal with a “significant drop in flying” caused by the ongoing health crisis. Such measures will affect pilots, cabin crew, and airport workers, mostly in New South Wales, Australia. 

“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 CEO Alan Joyce said. “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.”

According to Qantas, the staff will be given two weeks notice before the stand down takes effect, “with pay continuing until mid-August 2021”. The airline boss added that the current situation was challenging but “very different” compared to the heights of the pandemic in 2020, when Qantas stood down more than 20,000 airline employees. 

“The challenge around opening international borders remains. There are still several thousand Qantas and Jetstar crew who normally fly internationally and who have been on long periods of stand down since the pandemic began. Higher vaccination rates are also key to being able to fly overseas again, and finally getting all our people back to work,” Joyce added.


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