Two thirds of Qantas and Jetstar’s 30,000 employees will be “temporarily stood down” until the end of May.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement to the ASX that difficult decisions had to be made with the efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus resulting in a huge drop in travel demand.
“”We’re in a strong financial position right now, but our wages bill is more than $4 billion a year,” said Joyce.
“With the huge drop in revenue we’re facing, we have to make difficult decisions to guarantee the future of the national carrier.
“The reality is we’ll have 150 aircraft on the ground and sadly there’s no work for most of our people.
“Rather than lose these highly-skilled employees who we’ll needed when this crisis passes, we are instead standing down two-thirds of our 30,000 employees until at least the end of May.”
During the stand-down, employees will be able to draw down on annual and long service leave. Additional support mechanisms will also be introduced including leave at half pay and early access to long service leave.
The airline said periods of leave without pay for some employees “are inevitable”.