SYDNEY: Australia's Qantas is cutting 6,000 staff and grounding 100 planes for up to a year in a US$10 billion cost-cutting blitz in response to the COVID crisis, the airline announced Thursday.
CEO Alan Joyce said the three-year plan to save Australia's flag carrier from "the biggest crisis our industry has ever faced" would also see more than half the company's remaining 23,000 staff remain on leave for months.
"This year was supposed to be one of celebration for Qantas. It's our centenary," Joyce said in a statement. "Clearly, it is not turning out as planned." The coronavirus pandemic had already forced Qantas to cancel nearly all its international flights until at least October and slash domestic routes.
While domestic travel is beginning to pick up as most Australian regions have successfully contained the epidemic, the country's international borders are expected to remain closed to most passenger traffic until next year.