Coronavirus: Qantas slashes 90 percent of international flights

The move will see the grounding of around 150 aircraft.
The move will see the grounding of around 150 aircraft. Photo credit: Qantas

The Qantas Group including Jetstar is cutting back its international routes by 90 percent due to impact of coronavirus, including the travel restrictions put in place by the Australian government.

The move will see the grounding of around 150 aircraft, including almost all of the Qantas groups wide-body fleet, the company announced in a statement on Tuesday.

The airline said the fallout will be felt for weeks or possibly months and "the impact of this will be felt across the entire workforce of 30,000 people".

Qantas cutbacks:

  • International capacity will be cut by around 90 percent until at least the end of May
  • Qantas Group domestic capacity within Australia will be cut by around 60 percent for the same period

The specific routes being axed and full details of the changes will be announced later this week.

Qantas said the massive drop in passenger numbers has left the airline with a "significant labour surplus across its operations".

"Travel demand is unlikely to rebound for weeks or possibly months and the impact of this will be felt across the entire workforce of 30,000 people," the company said.

The company is asking staff to take either paid or unpaid leave and has cut the salaries of its management, including CEO Alan Joyce who will 'work for free' for the next three months.

As for people with flights booked, the Qantas Group is offering "a wide-ranging booking waiver for customers wanting to suspend their travel plans".

Customers with tickets for flights leaving before May 31 are able to exchange them for a voucher with the airline to the same value as the airfare.

People wanting to take that offer up are advised to do so via the Qantas or Jetstar websites - customers are asked not to call the contact centres, which are said to be overwhelmed.

The announcement from Qantas comes after Air New Zealand announced it was cutting back 85 percent of its long-haul services on Monday.

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