Australia’s flag carrier airline Qantas announced on Tuesday that 2,500 of its frontline employees would be stood down amid the ongoing lockdowns and border closures across the country.
In a media released, the airline said the move was a temporary measure that aimed to ultimately preserve jobs once states begin to re-open their borders and domestic flying resumes.
The stand down, estimated to last two months, would come into effect in mid-August.
Domestic pilots, cabin crew, and airport workers from both Qantas and its low-cost subsidiary airline Jetstar were put on notice late last month.
Qantas said they would continue to pay staff until that time but afterward many were expected to have to lean on COVID-19 disaster payments currently being issued by the Federal Government.
The announcement came after the airline’s CEO, Alan Joyce, told staff in a company-wide email just over a week ago to expect a stand down if multiple states continue to keep their borders closed.
Mr Joyce said that while the airline has been significantly hit, citing a drop to 40 per cent of its usual capacity in July.
He was optimistic that the airline industry would rebound as states begin to re-open and vaccination rates rise.
“Fortunately, we know that once borders do reopen, travel is at the top of people’s list and flying tends to come back quickly, so we can get our employees back to work.
“The vaccine rollout means, the end is in sight and the concept of lockdowns will be a thing of the past.
“Australia just needs more people rolling up their sleeves as more vaccine arrives,’’ he said.