Qantas to stand down 2500 as lockdowns bite

Qantas and Jetstar will stand down 2500 employees without pay in response to the extended greater Sydney lockdown, now expected to last another two months.

The announcement to the ASX came a day after the federal government agreed to pay aircrew outside lockdown areas who were still affected by the measures a Covid relief payment of $750 a week.

Workers would be stood down for an estimated two months and all would get two weeks notice, with pay continuing until mid-August, Qantas said.

Pilots, cabin crew and airport workers, most of whom are based in New South Wales, would make up the bulk of those stood down but those in other states would also be affected.

No further job losses were expected, after Qantas and Jetstar axed 8500 roles last year.

Another 7500 workers remain stood down, having been sidelined by the closure of international borders in March 2020.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the difficult decision to trigger more stand-downs reflected the reality confronting many businesses operating in New South Wales.

“This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying and that means no work for a number of our people,” Mr Joyce said.

“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 and Jetstar had gone from operating at almost 100 per cent of pre-Covid capacity to less than 40 per cent in July because of lockdowns in three states.

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