Qantas to end international flying through May, ground most wide-bodies
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Add Qantas to the list.
The Australian carrier become the latest major airline to announce drastic cuts to its schedule in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Qantas’ cuts will be major. All international flying will be halted at least until June 1 and the company will temporarily ground more than 150 aircraft, including all of its Airbus A380s, Boeing 747s and Boeing 787s – including those operated by subsidiary JetStar.
“The efforts to contain the spread of Coronavirus have led to a huge drop in travel demand, the likes of which we have never seen before. This is having a devastating impact on all airlines,” Qantas CEO said in a statement issued Thursday morning in Australia. “With the huge drop in revenue we’re facing, we have to make difficult decisions to guarantee the future of the national carrier.”
Qantas said it is making the move to slash its schedule as the Australian government is “now recommending against all overseas travel from Australia.” The airline plans to continue its regularly scheduled international flights through “late March” so that the carrier can “assist with repatriation.”
After that, Qantas said international flying “will then be suspended until at least the end of May 2020.”
Some international flying could be added on an “ad hoc” basis, with Qantas adding that it’s consulting with the Australian government about the “continuation of some strategic links.”
Domestic flying also will be hit hard, with Qantas reducing its schedule to about 40% of current levels. For those cuts, Qantas said it would focus on routes that have multiple daily flights. Still, Qantas noted that there would still be domestic route suspensions and that it would postpone “a number of new route launches.”
From our Qantas archives: Behind the scenes: What it was like on Qantas’ 19-hour Project Sunrise flight
Coupled with the flight cuts is a massive cut to the company’s ranks. The carrier said about two out of every three employees will be “stood down” as it tries to shore up its balance sheet.
“In order to preserve as many jobs as possible longer term, Qantas and Jetstar will stand down the majority of their 30,000 employees until at least the end of May 2020,” the company said.
Qantas said it would attempt to soften the blow for workers.
“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,” Joyce said in the airline’s statement. “We’re also talking to our partners like Woolworths about temporary job opportunities for our people.
Qantas’ cuts are just the latest of a series of stunning rollbacks at airlines around the globe. They’ve come as the COVID-19 pandemic has grown in severity.
In the U.S., the nation’s three big airlines – American, Delta and United – all have announced sweeping cuts to both domestic and international schedules. American said it will pare its long-haul service to just three routes: two from Dallas/Fort Worth (London and Tokyo) and one from Miami (London).
Severe reductions have come elsewhere, too.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific has now cut 90% of its total capacity. Several airlines – including Austrian and Brussels airlines – have suspended operations entirely. Even in North America, three Canadian airlines – including Porter Airlines – also have suspended all of their flights as they ride out the coronavirus crisis.
Featured image by Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.