AUSTRALIAN carrier Qantas today announced a loss of A$252 million (US$225.2 million) and a host of reductions in staff strength, operational routes and fleet size.
The airline said it will trim staff strength by a further 5,000 jobs over the next three years, as well as send six Boeing 747-400s into early retirement, defer delivery of the last eight Airbus A380s it has on order as well as three B787 Dreamliners for Jetstar. Qantas will sell its long-term lease of Brisbane Airport.
Also falling victim to this slash-and-burn exercise is the Perth-Singapore route that will be terminated on May 11, 2015, although “supplementary services” will run between July 3 and 22.
Qantas is downgrading its equipment from B747-400 to the smaller A330 on flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Singapore, removing the Premium Economy category by May 2015.
Growth plans for Jetstar Asia have also been suspended due to intense competition from other LCCs in South-east Asia. Maintenance facilities have been shuttered.
Predictably, Australian transport minister, Warren Truss, has pointed the finger at high costs. “The Qantas wage and cost structure places them at a significant disadvantage to the people they are fly alongside. Many of them are Asian carriers these days; they are Middle Eastern carriers where the wage structures are very much lower… so (Qantas) will face continuing challenges on international routes.”