Coronavirus: Qantas has plans for a year-long travel shutdown

Qantas plans a long sit-out for the COVID-19 storm, but will be ready to return to the skies as soon as it passes.

By David Flynn, April 7 2020
Coronavirus: Qantas has plans for a year-long travel shutdown

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce will soon make a call on the airline’s future flight plans for June and beyond, in the face of continuing uncertainty over the trajectory of the coronavirus and when national and international travel restrictions may ease.

“We’ll have to make a decision sometime in April about what we do for June and July,” Joyce told media following an announcement on March 19 that Qantas would suspend all international flights until at least the end of May 2020, accompanied by a 60% reduction to domestic flights.

“We have a range of options, to cut further and deeper, or to add capacity back,” Joyce said, allowing that “things are moving very fast and this is all about flexibility and maintaining flexibility.”

“We have a plan for three months, six months, nine months, a year,” Joyce revealed. “Nobody knows when this is going to end.”

Qantas has grounded almost all of its international jets, from the mighty Airbus A380s and the iconic Boeing 747s – which may face early retirement – to the modern Boeing 787s, although a handful of Dreamliners will return to the skies this month on repatriation flights to London, the USA, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

But for the most part, once-busy airports have become parking lots, especially for two-thirds of Qantas’ 75-strong Boeing 737-800 fleet.

At the same time, Qantas has formed a dedicated “startup team” tasked with ramping up operations when clear bright light shines from the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.

“If it’s more than three months you’ll have recurrence training (for pilots), you’ll have particular engineering items you need to do.”

“The start-up team is working out what that looks like so that we can activate it when the market turns, so we can be ahead of the curve, because we need to be ahead of the curve to help Australia get back on its feet."

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 293

Can QF not give engineers and other qualified employees jobs such as aircraft checks, maintenance and refurbishments here in Australia? I understand a lot of those jobs typically get done offshore normally.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Dec 2014

Total posts 42

"I understand a lot of those jobs typically get done offshore normally."

Not true. Unfortunately this misunderstanding is perpetuated by the unions in order to damage their member's employer.

The overwhelming majority of Qantas' aircraft maintenance is done in Australia. All 737 maintenance, all A330 maintenance along with A380 and 787 line maintenance. The only maintenance done overseas is some A380 and 787 line maintenance, done at Qantas' own facility in LA, and A380 heavy maintenance.

Given that the majority of Qantas' fleet is currently grounded, I would think that a large proportion of the 10,000 employees still working would be maintenance engineers.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 293

Ok thanks for that. I was told all A380 new cabins are being done in Germany? Can you confirm?

05 May 2016

Total posts 538

New cabins is a once in ~10+ year thing for an aircraft. Considering the new seating is manufactured overseas logistically it is cost effective to do the refurb overseas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Dec 2014

Total posts 42

Correct. Qantas' A380 fleet is so small that it is not cost effective to set up the facilities required to just do 12 aircraft.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 293

OK thank you.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 558

You would think wrong I am afraid.

Only heavy maintenance that is done offshore is A380 and 747 because there isn't enough of them in the fleet to justify a maintenance base. They also send surge maintenance offshore on the other planes.

As for refurbishments the A330's were done in Brisbane. A380 refurb is being done offshore though, I have no doubt there are reasons for that, like hanger capacity, skill set etc.

So my point don't always believe what you hear and accept that as fact.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Feb 2015

Total posts 147

I know money may be an issue, but wouldn't this be a great time to do Syd domestic lounge refurbishments?

01 Nov 2017

Total posts 6

....and SYD international business lounge too!

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 147

Also the Melbourne International business lounge could do with a refurbishment.

oxy
oxy

03 May 2017

Total posts 22

Can I add my lounge room to the list, it's definately due for a refurb as well.

Billions of taxpayers bailout dollars is in AJ's plans as well I gather.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Dec 2014

Total posts 42

Sigh, also not true. Qantas have clearly stated that they do not need or want any money from the government.

All they have stated is that, IF the government gives cash to Virgin, they must also give a proportional amount to Qantas otherwise the market will be severely distorted and Qantas will be disadvantaged.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2019

Total posts 2

There's a common misconception too that the Australian airlines have received $715m in support. That $715m was a reduction in certain fees and levies, which are variable depending on how much you fly. No fly, no pay. With most of the fleets grounded, airlines are not paying those fees anyway.

It's just like saying the toll on a motorway will be waived, but you're not driving anyway.

29 Jan 2015

Total posts 33

Let me clarify the Europe EC261/2004 legislation. 1. Compensation is not due in this current environment for cancelled or significantly changed flights 2. Refund is due for cancelled etc. flights if done by the airline. Customer does not have to take a voucher. This is EC law which supersedes any national government law. The EU made a specific announcement reconfirming the above is the law which still stands. Technically the law requires repayment to the passenger within 7 days. Most airlines take longer even in normal times. What is also common in normal times is that airlines lie about their reasons for cancellation and try other tricks to deny passengers their rights. If airline does not provide what has been paid for them passenger can do a chargeback. This is a card company system not the law so less reliable. The UK has Section 75 legislation which makes the credit card equally liable to fulfil the contract and credit card must provide legal requirements such as refund if flight is cancelled if airline doesn't. People are giving airlines more time but claiming s.75 when they need to. Many passengers have lost their jobs and need the money back they paid for the flight they did not receive so they can support their families. My personal opinion is airlines are a business like any other but if people need to eat and they didn't provide the flight someone paid money for them they have to refund even if they have to borrow money, raise new money by selling equity or accept government help. Airlines have more resources available than many passengers whose money they are holding onto.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2013

Total posts 9

Anyone noticed the QF schedule from next week cut to almost zero on most routes. Syd to Mel looks like one a day. Nothing on the qf CV disruption page to reflect this though as it still has the revised <50% schedule


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