Qantas is proposing to cut up to 2,500 more workers at airports across Australia, adding to the 6,000 employees already leaving the airline.
Management on Tuesday told staff it is looking to outsource ground handling crew, who handle baggage, cleaning and other work for Qantas and Jetstar.
The move would save Qantas $100 million per year as the travel industry remains devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
While Qantas and Jetstar have their own ground staff at major airports, the proposal aims to use the specialists who provide the services for the airlines at other airports.
Qantas would outsource the ground handling work at 10 airports: Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Melbourne, Darwin, Perth, Sydney and Townsville.
About 2,000 jobs would be affected by the move.
Jetstar will also outsource ground handling at six airports – Adelaide, Avalon, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne and Sydney Domestic – impacting about 370 jobs.
A plan to outsource bus services in and around Sydney Airport could also lead to 50 job losses.
Qantas employees will have a chance to bid for the work as part of their enterprise bargaining agreement.
Qantas Domestic chief executive Andrew David said domestic capacity was 20 per cent capacity of pre-COVID levels.
“We know travel restrictions will lift eventually, but the market will be very different,” he said.
“Every airline will come through this much leaner and more efficient, and we have to be able to compete if we’re going to survive.”
The Transport Workers Union demanded Qantas boss Alan Joyce stand down over the job cuts, saying: “This is not shrewd management, it is economic violence.”
“Qantas has taken millions in Jobkeeper wage subsidies, more than any other company, with the express intent of keeping people employed,” TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said in a statement.
“But now Alan Joyce wants to destroy thousands more livelihoods. This is callous abuse of public money. The chief executive must resign.”
Shares in the airline were higher by 1.47 per cent to $3.78 at 1341 AEST.