Qantas Grounding 100 Aircraft, Retiring 747s

 - June 25, 2020, 10:22 AM
Qantas is retiring its six remaining Boeing 747 widebodies early as part of a three-year plan to cut costs by just over $10 billion. [Photo: Qantas]

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

Qantas has unveiled a three-year recovery plan through which it aims to cut costs by A$15 billion ($10.4 billion) by a mix of measures including 6,000 job cuts and the grounding of around 100 aircraft for at least 12 months. In a June 25 statement, the company also said it will seek to raise around $1.3 billion through a new equity issue.

The airline is immediately retiring its six remaining Boeing 747s, six months ahead of schedule. Most of the 100 grounded aircraft will be part of Qantas’s international fleet and some of these may be returned to lessors. Planned deliveries of new Airbus A321neos and Boeing 787-9s have been deferred.

“We have to position ourselves for several years where revenue will be much lower. And that means becoming a smaller airline in the short term,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. 

The airline, which has 29,000 employees people, will have 8,000 back at work by the end of July and 15,000 by the end of this year. By June 2022, that number should reach 21,000 as international flying resumes. The temporary surplus of 15,000 people will be "managed through a mix of stand-down, annual leave, and leave without pay," Quantas said. 

“What makes this even harder is that right before this crisis hit, we were actively recruiting pilots, cabin crew, and ground staff," Joyce said. "We’re now facing a sudden reversal of fortune that is no one’s fault but is very hard to accept. This crisis has left us no choice but we’re committed to providing those affected with as much support as we can. That includes preserving as many jobs as possible through stand-downs, offering voluntary rather than compulsory redundancies where possible, and providing large severance payouts for long-serving employees in particular. As we’ve done throughout this crisis, our decisions are based on the facts we have now and the road we see in front of us. Our plan gives us flexibility under a range of scenarios, including a faster rebound or a slower recovery."