Just days after announcing major service cuts, Qantas has said it will now be suspending all international flights for at least two months from the end of March, leaving two-thirds of its workforce without work for months. Here's what you need to know.
Qantas has announced it will be cancelling all international flights between the end of March and the end of May, with domestic services slashed to 60 per cent of current flights. A specific date — other than the end of March — has not yet been set.
While customers won't be able to fly for recreational purposes, Qantas confirmed some essential domestic, regional and freight connections will be maintained.
Qantas and Jetstar international flights will be suspended from end March until at least 31 May 2020. Domestic flying reduced by 60% until the end of May 2020. International lounges and a number of domestic lounges will be temporarily closed. Full details https://t.co/P11mGmj8Ci.
— Qantas (@Qantas) March 18, 2020
Those specific changes for international services include:
- Qantas and Jetstar international flights from Australia suspended from end March until at least end May 2020. Some flights may continue in order to maintain key links, based on ongoing discussions with the Federal Government.
- Jetstar Asia (Singapore) will suspend all flights from 23 March to at least 15 April 2020.
- Jetstar Japan has suspended international flights and cut domestic flying.
- Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) has suspended international flights and will significantly cut domestic flying.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the suspensions were an unfortunate result of the travel bans being implemented around the world as well as the significant drop in people wanting to travel anywhere in these times. These changes will put 30,000 employees — or about two-thirds — on stand-down, where they'll have access to paid annual leave and long service leave until it runs out.
"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 need when this crisis passes, we are instead standing down two-thirds of our 30,000 employees until at least the end of May," Joyce said in a media statement.
"Most of our people will be using various types of paid leave during this time, and we'll have a number of support options in place. We’re also talking to our partners like Woolworths about temporary job opportunities for our people.
"This is a very hard set of circumstances for our people, as it is for lots of parts of the community right now."
What happens to my Jetstar and Qantas bookings now?
Qantas has said it would be issuing travel credits to anyone with a booking on a now cancelled flight.
"To avoid further inconvenience, we're converting all bookings on cancelled flights to a travel credit, which can be used anywhere on our network. Affected customers will be contacted directly from next Monday. Any customers travelling before the end of May who wish to change their booking are also eligible to receive a travel credit instead," the advice read.
"If flights were booked through a travel agency or third-party website (e.g. Webjet, Booking.com), customers will need to contact them directly to make changes to their booking."
You can find a list of the domestic route changes on the Qantas website.
As coronavirus hits industries all over the world, there's been a global downturn in people flying. And that's forced Qantas to cut costs in several ways. The most noticeable change for travellers will be a 25% cutback in the number of flights over the next six months. Flights into the United States, United Kingdom, Asia and New Zealand will all see reductions in the number of flights and the use of smaller aircraft. Here's what we can expect.