Coronavirus: Qantas CEO to 'work for free' as airline grounds dozens of aircraft

The airline will operate just two of its Airbus A380s.
The airline will operate just two of its Airbus A380s. Photo credit: Getty Images

Qantas has announced some drastic changes to its operation as it battles the financial impacts of the deadly coronavirus crisis.

The changes announced on Tuesday morning include cancelling any bonus payments for 2020 as well as the CEO of Qantas not being paid any salary for the rest of the year.

The Australian airline has been hit by the spread of the coronavirus into Europe and North America over the past fortnight, as well as its continued spread through Asia, which has resulted in a sudden and significant drop in travel demand.

Qantas cutbacks: 

  • Asia capacity cut by 31 percent
  • United States capacity cut by 19 percent
  • Trans-Tasman capacity cut by 10 percent
  • United Kingdom capacity down 17 percent 
  • Eight of the airline's Airbus A380s will be grounded until mid-September
  • The new Brisbane-Chicago service will be delayed from April 15 to mid-September
  • Freeze on all non-essential recruitment and consultancy work
  • Qantas and Jetstar employees may be asked to take paid or unpaid leave 

The airline says rather than pulling out of some routes entirely, it will use smaller aircraft and reduce the frequency across its long haul network.

Qantas will also reroute some services away from Asia. The existing Sydney-London service via Singapore will temporarily operate via Perth instead.

There will be major changes made to Qantas' low cost airline, Jetstar, which also has 'significant cuts to its international network' on the way.

Jetstar changes: 

  • Suspension of all flights to Bangkok 
  • Reduction in flights from Australia to Vietnam by almost half
  • Reduction in flights from Australia to Japan by almost half
  • Jetstar's daily Gold Coast-Seoul service was suspended last week.

In total, these reductions are the equivalent of grounding 38 Qantas and Jetstar aircraft across the international and domestic network.