Qantas managers and executives have been asked to give up their desk jobs to help with baggage handling, security and other on-the-ground airport jobs amid severe staff shortages.
The airline has asked workers to assist with ground handling for up to five days a week for three months, as first reported in The Australian.
“During your time in the contingency program, you’ll be an embedded resource within the ground handling partners,” the note to staff said.
“This means you’ll receive a roster, be scheduled to operate and be supervised and managed in the live operations by our ground handling partners.”
Managers and executives have already periodically been filling in during staff shortages, including during the busy Easter period.
The call to arms follows crippling staff shortages across the industry after airlines shed staff during the pandemic.
Airlines have been struggling to attract workers back into the industry, making it difficult to manage pent-up demand following the easing of COVID restrictions.
Lost baggage the new normal
Labour shortages have been creating chaos at airports here and around the world, including frequent delays and cancellations.
In June, the Australian airline industry recorded its worst on-time performance figures in decades.
Travellers have also come to expect queues, lost bags and long waits to contact help centres on the phone.
Ticket prices have also been surging, with the average return economy international flight price in Australia increasing by around 14 per cent compared to the same period in May.