Qantas job cuts revealed: airport staff, cabin crews, engineering

By David Flynn, February 27 2014
Qantas job cuts revealed: airport staff, cabin crews, engineering

Qantas will seek staff cuts in cabin crew and staff at domestic Australian airports and Sydney International Airport to reach its target of eliminating 5,000 jobs.

Up to 300 line maintenance positions across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide will also vanish, alongside a reduction in administration and support staff.

The airline expects most of the positions earmarked for elimination will disappear by the middle of 2015, well ahead of its declared 'three year' timetable.

In a 'Fact Sheet' distributed to staff this afternoon, Qantas reveals cuts will be made across the breadth of the airline.

"The proposed job cuts are designed to protect as many Qantas jobs in the long term as possible" the document states, adding that the airline is "cutting back where we can, to invest where we need to."

Qantas Catering is expected to serve up 80 positions for voluntary redundancy.

Qantas will also close the Australian operations of its Qantas Courier business, with 36 employees to lose their jobs.

Here are the relevant portions of the Fact Sheet.

Corporate Head office staff

Management and non-operational roles will decrease by 1,500 across the Qantas Group – representing 30 per cent of the Group’s management and non-operational staff and will include a cross-section of functions.

The majority of positions will come from Qantas’ head office in Mascot.

Airports Domestic Airports

Qantas intends to run a voluntary redundancy program at its domestic airports operations to better reflect change customer behaviour, adapt to changes in technology and align staffing levels with flight scheduling.

This is largely due to customers preferring automatic check in facilities and online purchases.

Given this is a voluntary redundancy program; we will assess interest before finalising the number.

Sydney International Airport

Qantas intends to run a voluntary redundancy program for full-time employees at Sydney International Airport to better align staffing levels with flight scheduling.

There will be changes to the mix of customer service staff to better suit the peak periods at the airport.

This will result in an increase in part-time staff and a reduction in full-time staff. Eligible employees will be able to express their interest for a voluntary redundancy package and some are expected to convert to part-time roles.

Given this is a voluntary redundancy program; we will assess interest before finalising the conversion number. The changes will not impact the level of customer service we provide.

Cabin crew
We are conducting a voluntary redundancy program for domestic Qantas domestic cabin crew, which is a result of the reduction in our fleet size.


Qantas has today announced a restructure of its line maintenance operations (i.e. smaller maintenance tasks done on every aircraft every 1-2 days) to better reflect the reduced maintenance required on modern aircraft and the retirement of older aircraft.

In this financial year, we are retiring 15 legacy aircraft, including two Boeing 747s, seven Boeing 767s and six Boeing 737-400s. These aircraft have been replaced by more efficient aircraft that have been designed to require less maintenance, less often.

The changes Qantas will implement include:

  • A reduction of up to 300 line maintenance positions across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, as well as a reduction in administration and support staff.
  • Implementing recommendations from Boeing to improve and optimise our maintenance plan for our Boeing 737 and 747 aircraft, which will result in maintenance tasks being grouped together instead, of smaller, more frequent checks. (The frequency of tasks remains the same but they will be synchronised into one check rather than lots of separate checks. This creates efficiencies, such as removing access panels once to access several components at the same time rather than removing the same panel several times on different occasions to access just one or two parts)
  • Better synching of maintenance schedules with flight schedules to make more effective use of time that aircraft spend on the ground and reduce the need to take them out of service for maintenance. This approach has already increased the amount of A380 flying Qantas does and will provide the equivalent of one additional B737 for use in domestic/charter markets
  • Recruiting for engineers in Perth Line Maintenance and Brisbane Heavy Maintenance to meet maintenance demand. The majority of these roles are for a fixed period to support spikes in the maintenance plan.

Qantas maintenance standards remain over-and-above what is recommended by Boeing and regulations by CASA. Any suggestion that these changes reduce safety levels is wrong.

This is in addition to the 300 employees at our Boeing 747 heavy maintenance facility in Avalon.

Qantas Courier

Qantas will close the Australian operations of its Qantas Courier business, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qantas Freight.

In recent years Qantas Freight has narrowed its strategy from being a road express and door-to-door air express freight provider to focus solely on airport-to-airport air freight services.

Qantas Courier has not been profitable for several years and represents 1 per cent of revenue for Qantas Freight in FY13.

Qantas Freight’s international and domestic air freight business is not impacted by this decision. The business will continue operating in New Zealand. There are 36 employees impacted who will be provided redundancy packages.

Qantas Catering

Catering will be running a voluntary redundancy program for employees in the Corporate Head office and across its centres in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

These voluntary redundancy programs will improve the way Catering utilises its resources and better manage its costs. We anticipate around 80 positions to be impacted.

We’ve been transforming the catering business for some time and will continue to make structural changes to build a sustainable and flexible catering model.

The changes implemented will not have an impact on catering provided to customers. Qantas’ catering facility in Adelaide will also close in March as previously announced. 180 employees are impacted as a result of the closure.

Qantas Catering will be running a voluntary redundancy program for employees in the Corporate Head office and across its centres in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

These voluntary redundancy programs will improve the way Catering utilises its resources and better manage its costs. We anticipate around 80 positions to be impacted.

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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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Sep 2011

Total posts 181

May I suggest that the first redundancy in the management is Alan Joyce? Closely followed by all the additional senior roles he created?

Please enlighten us how you'd run Qantas if you were the CEO. I'd be keen to understand your perspective.

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1249

Without doing a critique on Alan's Joyce performance, it's fair to say the Australia public are fairly disillusioned with him. He should be given the next 12-18months to finalise the messy and unpopular stuff and then a new CEO should be appointed to try and re-engage with the public (you know, the people who fly)

17 Feb 2012

Total posts 121

9 out of the last 10 years Alan Joyce has been with Qantas they have registered profits.  In the past 10 years any international carrier that has wanted to dump capacity into the Australian market has been allowed to.  Not sure how that is his fault - QF will never be able to compete on price because of our high wage and award rates - so its a cheap shot to say he needs to go - as those problems with continue regardless. 

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1249

Yes, I do understand the external issues and I actually agree with many things Joyce has done and disagree with other things. However, the average Australian does not understand these things. Most people do not take an detailed interest in aviation like the people who look at this website or AFF etc... they don't like AJ and this in turn damages QF's brand. It's in the best interests for the company to have a fresh face and a fresh start.

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Joyce needs to go. It's not a cheap shot. It's because his strategies have failed. The share price has collapsed under his tenure. He is a poor leader of people. He has tarnished the brand. What other company or industry would tolerate such blatant incompetence.

Blame the staff, blame VA, blame whatever. All nonsense.

In his speech he took ZERO responsibililty for his failed misadventures.

Seriously, Whipper, how blind can you be.

And yes I run a business myself and have worked in aviation.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1464

Joyce may be not the best possible CEO. But frankly it is not his fault that Qantas in deep sh!t. We should blame deregulation and allowing plenty of el-chepo carriers flood our market. We will not be able to compete with cost of China labor unless our living standards became like in China. But do not worry, it happens sooner then you may thing – thanks to “global economy”.

I am not fan of Allan, but all Allan haters please tell me what would YOU do? It is easy to say “lets keep stuff and serve aircraft in Australia”, “lets buy new planes”, “lets make more routes” and so on. But after deregulation Qantas became public company and as such MUST make money. So how you suggest making money if Australia flooded with carriers from cheap countries from one hand and government subsidized from other? How we can provide service on par with government owned carriers and paying salaries less that in China in country with one of the dearest workforce? And yet make money?

Problem not in Allan Joyce – problem in deregulation aviation in Australia.

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

Serg, how many examples of bad management, atrocious leadership and poor decision making do you need to realise that Joyce is a one-man wrecking ball?

Look at the collapse in the DOMESTIC performance of QF - the profit has collapsed. Why? Joyce has entered a capacity war and is flushing the cash away. And insodoing he is removing fleet from regional routes so damaging the standing of QF in those places or even the ability to take a QF flight if you want to. He expects premium customers to travel on a LCC product (JQ) domestically to connect with his international operations. You cannot blame differential in staff wages between QF and JQ for that, nor capital injections to a competitor. If you have two broadly similar products in a market you ain't gonna be able to maintain a dominant position!

Over the period VA launched their business class, Joyce's response has been, well, lacklustre if not absent. A major threat to market share in premium and in the first 4 -6 months there was no customer-focused strategic response from QF - perhaps Joyce thought that VA would fall at the first hurdle so didn't even warrant a counter strategy. By the time QF launched promotions to its FFers VA had had a six month start.

Likewise VA took the lead in the transcontinental routes with product innovation with their A330s. QF is scrambling to re-allocate international A330s to the routes, and way behind in its business seat redesign.

The situation is so ridiculous Joyce is allocating international A330s to SYD-PER and BNE-PER rather than run them SYD-HNL where a 15 yr old 767 chugs across the Pacific with old Dreamtime product.

What about JQ? Presumably Joyce ISN'T paying Aussie wages for the various JQ offshoots in Asia! Yet, again mismanaged, A320s (7 or 11 of them) sit idle. JQ international is responsible for a AUD160 million drop in profit.

Why is the airlines blowing millions on new lounges in airports with a strong OneWorld presence? Because the relationships with key partners - BA, CX - have been allowed to fester. What is the point of OneWorld if the member airlines don't seek efficiences by pooling resources. AGAIN note staff wages issue.

Crucially, his is no leader of people. His staff don't respect him. Talk to QF staff and find one that have any time for him (I know one out of dozens). Borghetti, on the other hand, enjoys the opposite - his staff love and feeel privileged to work for him.

And his response to the loss? Reactive patch ups to save cash flow. No vision, no progressive strategy, just financial panic, and blaming everything and everyone else for his problems.

Capital injection? QF has enjoyed profits for most of time since privatisation - so what's it done with the cash?!

If so desperate, why hasn't it even used up the foreign investment quota permitted under the QF Sale Act?


19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427



1. Redraw line in the sand (perhaps 55-58% is ultimtaely defendable)

2. Re-assign fleet to regional cities which have suffered in the fake capacity wars

3. Ensure timetable feeds efficiently into QFi

4. Assign A330s to East-West coast routes (or even better 787-8s to differentiate from VA)

5. Decentralise workforce to regional centres to re-embed QF in local communities

6. Re-estabish QF as an Austraian and community focused company (support local businesses where possible) 

6. Determine product differentiators to VA, especially in premium

7. Further fleet simplification 




1. Rationalise the network - hubs in DXB, HKG, LAX, DFW feeding into partner airlines - A380 fleet from major capitals

2. 787-9s from lesser capitals to the hubs where pax sustainable

3. Redevelop relationships with OneWorld partners

4. More asset sharing with OneWorld partners


  1. Re-engage with staff and customers.
  2. Work towards a complete rebranding which focuses on core product


Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

26 Jul 2012

Total posts 36

From what I can recall, QF made very very good profits for some time, even under the Qantas Sales Act, so all this posturing about its' need to get rid of this is hot air! Not one airline in the world has this 'Level Playing Field', not one!! We have had an 'Open Skies' policy for quite a few yrs, but I think it was foolish of the Australian Government to allow for example, EK to cross the Tasman which has eaten a fair way into QF profits. Of course there are many other factors like an inflexible workforce, bad fleet choices, a top heavy management, poor routing, divisions not performing, fuel prices, global contitions etc to name a few!!! I have not heard much mentioned about the net gain into Joyce closing the airline down globally, which was an expensive and disruptive event!!?? Was that really necessary? I think there does need to be a new sweep of the senior management; I think Joyce has lost the confidence of his workforce, and his management style is not helping QF and frankly I feel it never has. Regretable, QF is a follower not a leader in world airlines, and the game is changing again, Middle East today, maybe even tomorrow, but watch out for China and India. My thoughts!

24 Aug 2012

Total posts 3

- BAD fleet choices years ago - Blind Freddy would have made the right choice

- Line in sand 65%

- Inconsistent customer service

- if the sales act is such a impediment, how come they are not up to the 49% foreign ownership allowed already?

19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427


19 Jan 2012

Total posts 427

As a CNS based Platinum One FF I am very disappointed to learn that the excellent (domestic) crew in CNS are being shafted by Joyce.

They have a few weeks to move or take redundancy.

I have had the gretr pleasure to have enjoyed their highly professional efforts over some years.

These totally decent and professional people are being screwed because of Joyce's infantile 65% line in the sand nonsense: the removal of some domestic flights from CNS (they've been no QFI flights for years now, welcome to the club PER).


Joyce and Clifford have to go. They are turning even the PROFITABLE domestic operation into a clusterf--k.

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