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Hundreds of Qantas staff to be offered redundancies

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Hundreds of Qantas international staff will be offered voluntary redundancies as the airline reveals COVID-19 will blow a $16 billion hole in its bottom line.

Hundreds of Qantas international crew will be offered voluntary redundancies as the airline reveals COVID-19 will blow a $16 billion hole in its bottom line.

In an update to shareholders, Qantas said it forecasts a statutory loss before tax of more than $2 billion just this financial year.

As part of the airline's COVID-19 recovery program, Qantas said it will run an "expression of interest program" for international cabin crew to register for the voluntary redundancies.

READ MORE: Qantas to investigate the accuracy of COVID-19 tests in India

Qantas said it expects the program will generate "several hundred applications".

The airline said that of the 22,000 jobs across the entire Qantas Group, 16,000 were currently working in some capacity.

That includes all corporate employees, all domestic crew and "some" international crew.

Qantas will also introduce a two-year wage freeze on the next round of enterprise agreements, with two per cent annual increases locked in annually after that.

READ MORE: Qantas delays international flights by two months

Qantas planes on the tarmac at Sydney Airport.

Despite the cost-cutting measures, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said domestic travel is beginning to return to pre-COVID levels.

"We have a long way still to go in this recovery, but it does feel like we're slowly starting to turn the corner," Mr Joyce said.

"It's great to see so many of our people now back at work and the majority of our fleet back in the air.

"Our recovery strategy of targeting cash-positive flying rather than pre-COVID margins is helping increase activity levels and repair our balance sheet."

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READ MORE: Qantas to keep headquarters in Sydney, Jetstar head office in Melbourne

Mr Joyce also implored the government to open international borders once the vaccine rollout is complete.

"We've adjusted our expectations for when international borders will start opening based on the government's new timeline, but our fundamental assumption remains the same – that once the national vaccine rollout is effectively complete, Australia can and should open up," Mr Joyce said.

"That's why we have aligned the date for international flights restarting in earnest with a successful vaccination program.

"Australia has to put the same intensity into the vaccine rollout as we've put on lockdowns and restrictions, because only then will we have the confidence to open up."

READ MORE: Airlines back calls for October deadline for overseas travel

One of the large fatalities of JobKeeper ending has reared its head today, with hundreds of Virgin Australia ground staff being stood down without pay for at least three weeks.

Virgin Australia announces 250 new domestic jobs

At the same time Mr Joyce was telling shareholders of the harsh financial measures Qantas was taking, competitor Virgin Australia announced 250 new jobs for its domestic network.

Virgin announced five new domestic routes and increased frequencies, adding more than 700 extra weekly flights across the airline's domestic network by October.

On top of the 370 cabin crew roles announced last month, Virgin Australia will grow its team and recruit for at least 250 new team members over the coming months across its operational and corporate workforce.

READ MORE: Virgin Australia scraps free food for economy passengers

Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said the airline had begun to reverse the damage inflicted from the pandemic.

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"We are so pleased to have turned a corner from the worst of the pandemic and to soon welcome 250 new and highly skilled individuals into the Virgin Australia team," Ms Hrdlicka said.

"Importantly, Virgin Australia is supporting over 6000 jobs, which is something we flagged in August last year as the baseline number of jobs we hoped to support as the domestic market recovered."

Source: 9News

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