Qantas Group stands down 2500 frontline staff for at least two months due to COVID-19 outbreaks

Jetstar is part of the Qantas group.
Jetstar is part of the Qantas group. Photo credit: Getty Images

Qantas Group, the company behind Qantas and Jetstar, is standing around 2500 staff down for at least two months, the company confirmed on Tuesday morning.

The stand down is a temporary measure to deal with a significant drop in flying caused by COVID-19 restrictions in Greater Sydney in particular and the knock-on border closures in all other states and territories. 

However, no permanent job losses are expected.

Those directly affected by the decision will include pilots, cabin crew and airport workers, mostly in New South Wales (NSW). 

Employees will be given two weeks' notice before the stand down takes effect, with pay continuing until mid-August.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the difficult decision to stand staff down reflected the reality confronting many businesses operating in NSW.

"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," said Joyce.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the stand-down will last for around two months.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the stand-down will last for around two months. Photo credit: Getty Images

"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 have gone from operating almost 100 percent of their usual domestic flying in May to less than 40 percent in July because of lockdowns in three states.

"Hopefully, once other states open back up to South Australia and Victoria in the next week or so, and the current outbreak in Brisbane is brought under control, our domestic flying will come back to around 50 to 60 percent of normal levels.

"Based on current case numbers, it's reasonable to assume that Sydney's borders will be closed for at least another two months. We know it will take a few weeks once the outbreak is under control before other states open to New South Wales and normal travel can resume."

Joyce said the vaccine rollout means the end is in sight and the concept of lockdowns will be a thing of the past. He's calling on more Australians to roll up their sleeves as more vaccines arrive.

"The challenge around opening international borders remains. There are still several thousand Qantas and Jetstar crew who normally fly internationally and who have been on long periods of stand down since the pandemic began. Higher vaccination rates are also key to being able to fly overseas again, and finally getting all our people back to work."