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Qantas and Jetstar are cutting international flights by 90% as demand plummets due to the coronavirus outbreak

Sharon Masige
  • Qantas and Jetstar are cutting international flights by 90% and domestic flights by 60% as travel restrictions multiply, triggered by the coronavirus.
  • It is the equivalent of grounding around 150 aircraft.
  • The flight cuts will affect Qantas Group's roughly 30,000 staff, with the airline working to manage the "surplus of labour".
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Qantas and Jetstar are drastically reducing flights.

From the end of March 2020, Qantas Group will cut international flight capacity by 90% and domestic flights by around 60% until at least the end of May 2020 as the coronavirus impacts flight demand. It is the equivalent of grounding around 150 aircraft.

For international flights, this is a massive jump from Qantas Group's 23% flight reduction announced last week. It comes after a sharp decline in demand and quarantine requirements placed on people's ability to travel overseas.

For domestic flights, it is a rise from the previous 5% flight reduction. It comes after the government advised Australians to abandon non-essential overseas travel, corporate travel bans and a general reduction in everyday activities.

These flight cuts also include the previously announced flight reductions Qantas and Jetstar made from the end of May through to September, with the airline adding that the cuts are likely to increase depending on demand.

Despite the reductions, Qantas said it will continue to transport people and goods on "key international and domestic routes." This includes using some of its domestic passenger planes for freight-only flights to replace lost capacity from regular services. Qantas' freight aircraft fleet will still also be used.

The additional flight cuts will mean a surplus of workers

Qantas said the flight reductions will mean the company is faced with a "significant labour surplus" throughout its operations.

"Travel demand is unlikely to rebound for weeks or possibly months and the impact of this will be felt across the entire workforce of 30,000 people," Qantas said in a statement.

The airline added that it will be working to manage the impact of the flight reductions, including the use of paid and unpaid leave and pay cuts senior executive previously announced.

"This will be in addition to measures already announced, including three months of no pay for the CEO and Chairman, significant pay cuts for Group Executive Management and Board members, and cancelling of annual bonuses and an off-market buy back," Qantas said.

The announcement comes after Qantas and Jetstar decided to give passengers a travel credit if they decide to cancel their flights.

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