Australian flag carrier, Qantas announced that 2,500 of its frontline employees will be stood down amid the ongoing Covid-19 lockdowns and border closures across the country.
In a press statement, the airline said the move is a “temporary measure” that aims to ultimately preserve jobs once states begin to re-open their borders and domestic flying resumes.
The stand down, estimated to last two months, will come into effect in mid-August.
Domestic pilots, cabin crew and airport workers from both Qantas and its low-cost subsidiary airline Jetstar were put on notice late last month.
Qantas said they will continue to pay staff until that time but afterwards many are expected to have to lean on Covid-19 disaster payments currently being issued by the federal government.
The announcement came after the airline’s CEO Alan Joyce told staff in a company-wide email just over a week ago to expect a stand down if multiple states continue to keep their borders closed.
Joyce said that while the airline has been significantly hit, citing a drop to 40 per cent of its usual capacity in July, he is still optimistic that the airline industry will rebound as states begin to re-open and vaccination rates rise.
“Fortunately, we know that once borders do reopen, travel is at the top of people’s list and flying tends to come back quickly, so we can get our employees back to work,” he said.
“The vaccine rollout means the end is in sight and the concept of lockdowns will be a thing of the past. Australia just needs more people rolling up their sleeves as more vaccine arrives.”