Qantas Airways Ltd announced yesterday it was slashing its workforce by 1,500 people worldwide, the latest in a string of measures to try to offset skyrocketing fuel costs.
Chief executive Geoff Dixon said the cuts — about 1,300 of them coming in Australia — represent 4 percent of its total workforce.
The airline said it would also close call centers in Tucson, Arizona, and London, causing the loss of 99 jobs.
Dixon said the cuts were necessary to ensure that Qantas survives what he called a crisis in the aviation industry caused by large rises in the price of fuel.
“I think it’s as tough as I’ve seen it,” Dixon told reporters. “It’s not just aviation being hurt by oil prices, it’s other things, such as food. It’s tough — there’s no doubt about it.”
Fuel accounts for about 35 percent of Qantas’ expenses and rising fuel costs are expected to add more than A$2 billion (US$2 billion) to the company’s fuel bills this fiscal year.
The airline’s work force of 36,000 people accounts for another 30 percent of costs.
The first step in the job-shedding plan would be to ask for voluntary redundancies, Dixon said.
“But unfortunately, with these numbers we will have compulsory redundancies,” he said, adding that the redundancies would be completed by December.
Australian Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the government would provide assistance to those who lose their jobs.
“Certainly the government is disappointed with any job losses and we want to make sure that the workers are given every support,” Albanese said.
To reduce costs even more, the firm will maintain an executive pay freeze for the foreseeable future.
The airline is also abandoning plans to increase its capacity by 8 percent in the next 12 months, with no growth whatsoever now expected in that period, Dixon said. Also, 22 older planes in Qantas’ 228-strong fleet would be retired.
Qantas’ budget subsidiary Jetstar would also be hit by the cuts, with its hiring program suspended. A Jetstar cabin crew and pilot base in the southern city of Adelaide will be shut by September.
Qantas has already increased fares twice and cut capacity twice in recent months.
The Australian Services Union (ASU), which represents airport administrative staff, said service standards would fall with the new cuts.
“To cut 20 percent of back office staff undervalues what they do, it’s not as if people are sitting around doing nothing,” said ASU assistant national secretary Linda White.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly