Qantas will make 1,000 staff redundant across the areas of management, pilots, cabin crew and engineers.
But CEO Alan Joyce wouldn't be drawn on how many people in each category were being shown the door.
He did say that the airline wanted to focus on voluntary redundancies, with more than 400 cabin crew already applying for a payout to leave the airline even before the job cuts were announced.
"There is no doubt that this is tough, but consistent with past practice, we expect the majority of redundancies will be voluntary," he said.
"We will be looking to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies."
"Some pilots will be offered leave without pay to take advantage of other opportunities in the group and other companies."
"What we have done, for example, is Jetstar Singapore is growing and looking for pilots. Those jobs have been made available to Qantas pilots to apply for, and 150 pilots have applied," he said.
When pressed on whether this means Qantas staff would be pushed to take leave without pay to work in a lower-paid job with better security, he said: "For those businesses to be successful, those businesses have to operate under terms and conditions that are competitive."
"However, a pilot in Jetstar gets paid $208,000 a year. These are good roles -- they are the right place to leverage our expertise."
"If these companies had to pay the same terms and conditions as Qantas, they would not be viable."
"They are not competing with Australian companies -- they are competing with Air Asia and Tiger, but they are very decent salaries."
He appeared to get frustrated when asked about whether the cuts would further inflame tensions with Qantas staff unions.
"The unions can do and say what they want, but we are being positive in our approach going forward."
"We are all about building a stronger, better Qantas. Management is getting on with that."