Qantas to Stand Down Most of 30,000 Staff

By AAP
March 18, 2020 Updated: March 18, 2020

Qantas will suspended all international flights, delay its dividend payout and stand down two-thirds of its 30,000-member workforce until the end of May in the face of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

The national carrier, which earlier this week cut its international capacity by 90 percent, is now cutting all international flights from the end of March until at least the end of May.

The move follows government-imposed travel restrictions announced at the weekend and comes after rival Virgin Australia said it would halt international travel from the end of March to June 14.

Qantas and Jetstar will continue to fly to almost all its Australian domestic and regional destinations but less frequently, as previously flagged.

The group also announced on Thursday that two-thirds of the Qantas and Jetstar workforce would be stood down “in order to preserve as many jobs as possible longer term.”

Employees will be able to draw down on annual and long service leave, while additional support will be introduced, including leave at half-pay and early access to long service leave.

Employees with low leave balances will be able to access up to four weeks leave in advance of earning.

However, the company admitted periods of leave without pay for some employees would be “inevitable.”

Shareholders expecting a fully franked 13.5 cent interim dividend on April 9 will have to wait until Sept. 1.

They will also have to wait for the airline’s already cancelled off-market buyback.

By Alex Druce