Qantas asks execs to take on ground handling roles to ease staff shortages

Dr. Victor Wong /

Qantas has asked executives and management level employees to switch to ground handling roles at major airports for three months in order to help alleviate staff shortages.

Much like North America and Europe, Australia is also experiencing staff shortages in airports. The country’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are preparing for the busy summer and school holiday season, which begins in October 2022.

In a memo seen by AeroTime, Qantas’ COO Colin Hughes announced that the airline is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from managers and executives to work at Sydney or Melbourne airport in roles such as driving baggage trucks and sorting luggage.

We continue to face operational challenges and so we’re calling on at least 100 managers and executives to opt into a short-term arrangement over the next three months,” Hughes said in the memo.

“People who respond to the EOI will be trained and rostered into the ramp environment at Sydney and Melbourne airports. These people will support our ground handling partners, who are managing the Qantas operation, over a three-month period from mid-August,” the memo stated.

The memo also indicated that key parts of the role they are seeking include loading and unloading aircraft (sorting and scanning bags to be driven to an aircraft, scanning and loading bags onto belt loader, offloading bags to arrival belts) and driving a tug (taking bags between the bag room and aircraft, moving bags between International and Domestic airports).

“It’s our singular company focus to support our teams to get our operation back to where it should be and provide our passengers the experience they expect from the airline,” Hughes said in the memo.

A Qantas spokesperson told AeroTime that as it had done in the past during busy periods, around 200 head office staff have helped at airports since Easter 2022.


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