Loss-making Qantas to lay off dozens of pilots

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 1:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 1:33pm

Qantas will make dozens of pilots redundant for the first time in 40 years, reports said Wednesday, as the struggling Australian airline looks to slash costs to contain massive losses.

The national carrier, which announced in February it would cut 5,000 jobs from its workforce, will call for voluntary redundancies among its Boeing 747 and 767 pilots, the Australian Financial Review said.

Qantas previously said it would retire both the ageing Boeing models as part of its plan to save A$2 billion (HK$14.5 billion) over the next three years, chief executive Alan Joyce saying the airline was facing “some of the toughest conditions” it had ever seen.

The airline's chief pilot, Dick Tobiano, said in an internal message that plans to accelerate the retirement of the planes meant the airline was no longer able to manage the staff surplus through leave arrangements, the newspaper reported.

The Australian and International Pilots Association said the redundancies were “regrettable” but it would work with the company to “ensure the process was managed with as little pain to individual pilots as possible”.

Up to 100 redundancies, or just under 20 per cent of the 550 pilots for both the fleets, were reported to be affected. The airline, which had no immediate comment, has about 2,000 pilots on its books.

Qantas has lobbied the government for support after it announced a A$235 million loss in the six months to December 31 as it grapples with competition from domestic rival Virgin Australia.