Pandemic-Hit Qantas Weighs New Pay Structure to Keep Key Executives

By Reuters
September 17, 2021 Updated: September 17, 2021

SYDNEY—Qantas Airways Ltd said on Friday it was considering new ways to structure pay to ensure it could retain key executives as it enters the third financial year affected by the pandemic-driven slowdown in travel.

Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder said executives had faced a high workload with no annual bonuses for the last two years, and a continued wage freeze at a time when attrition was rising across the airline.

“Our executive cohorts are talented and in increasing demand across a range of industries, many of which, unlike aviation and tourism, are experiencing high rates of growth and activity, with financial rewards to match,” he said in the airline’s annual report.

In the case of CEO Alan Joyce and executive management, any incentive plan would take the place of the traditional annual bonus plan, Goyder said, adding that a decision was expected in the second half of the financial year.

Joyce’s total annual pay rose to A$1.97 million ($1.44 million) in the 12 months ended June 30, up 13 percent from a year earlier, when he had taken a period of zero base pay, but his pay remained 80 percent below pre-COVID-19 levels.

Joyce has said he expected to stay in his role until at least July 2023 to complete a three-year recovery plan designed to cut ongoing annual costs by A$1 billion.

In a separate note to staff seen by Reuters, Goyder said the company would look to reward all employees if the recovery plan is completed successfully by that date.

“Nothing is finalized but we look forward to sharing more detail in the first quarter of next year,” he said.

Other companies in the travel sector, including Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd and Air New Zealand Ltd, have offered shares to all employees as part of retention efforts.

By Jamie Freed