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Qantas will fly beyond March to bring Aussies home

written by Adam Thorn | March 20, 2020

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has pledged to maintain a handful of international flights beyond Qantas’ March grounding to return stranded Australians home.

Speaking to ABC’s Leigh Sales, Joyce said, “We’re just going through those details with the government at the moment. There could be some international operations that will go past the end of March.”

The news comes after Australia banned all non-residents from arriving in Australia and many airlines are beginning to ground the vast majority of their fleet.

Qantas group chief executive Alan Joyce. (Qantas)

On Thursday morning, the Qantas Group announced it was to suspend two-thirds of its workforce and scrap all international flights from the end of March.

Joyce appeared on ABC’s 7.30 show to explain the reasoning behind that decision.


He said, “This is the worst crisis the aviation industry has gone through. I know for the economy it’s probably going to be a lot worse than the GFC.

“With the government saying Australians shouldn’t travel overseas and demand coming in dried up because people don’t want to go into quarantine for 14 days.”

As part of Thursday’s announcement, Qantas Group said “stood down” employees would be able to drawdown annual and long-service leave or have four weeks leave in advance of accruing it as part of measures to ease the burden on staff.

Joyce told Sales, “We’re not making people redundant and we’re trying this mechanism to make sure we can get through and survive and they have a job at the end of the day.

“At the end of the day, we’re protecting these jobs. Some people have months of leave so will be paid for months.

“Some people have very little leave and what we are allowing people also to do is take up net four weeks of negative leave. We will pay for that and that gives them the next four weeks.”

He also said he had spoken to Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci about redeploying Qantas workers in under-pressure supermarkets.

“He [Banducci] thinks Qantas employees are ideal employees to have in loading shelves,” Joyce said.

He also reiterated that no board members will be paid until the end of the financial year, a decision that initially only applied to the chief executive and chairman.

“None of us are getting paid while this is going on,” said Joyce.

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Comments (8)

  • That is an amazingly generous approach by the Qantas CEO to his personnel. Good on you Alan Joyce!

  • Ken Hayes


    Joyce is a very hard bloke to like, and his thinly-veiled attack on Virgin is in particularly poor taste, even for Joyce.

    It is also extremely ignorant, as he appears not to know that Qantas was for a long time the government airline.

  • Alan Freedman


    I do feel for Qantas and all staff members at this time, have been with Qantas for over 30 years and still believe its the best airline, however I am having trouble in receiving a full credit for my business class flight to Bangkok which had to be cancelled.

  • Stu


    That’s not true, board members have transferred cash remuneration to an equal amount of shares, so they have lost nothing. I am sure the CEO has done similar.

  • Dan


    Well I am glad Alan Joyce can afford to not be paid for 3 months – I am glad he can figure out how to survive on what, about $16million per year… But sounds like the 20,000 workers are going to get screwed over! If my understanding is right QANTAS will get about $100mil of taxes and excise and etc, back off the government as part of the Industry Support program, and if I remember right QANTAS posted a statutory net profit of $891 million last FY…

    Yet the first real measure QANTAS makes is to stand down about 2/3 of its work force, and pushing them to take their accrued leave?

    Great news for shareholders though!


  • Esmond Lucas


    I worked for this fantastic airline for 34 years and retired in 2007.Just a thought occurred to me, that why cant Qantas get approval to use some aircraft to transport well required goods to Australia or the world, instead of companies using ships, which take a long time to reach countries.In this manner, there will be the least spread of the Virus because the crews will be minimal compared to ships crews.
    Also, it will keep their loyal staff in some sort of employment.
    I sent this suggestion to Morrison,Albanese and Paul Scurrah to consider.
    Hope we can save jobs and the health of our great nation.



    Im a west aussie in Vic atm due to return on the 30th march. My return flight was cancelled by qantas as it was part of a an international flight. I want to get back before the self isolation so im needing a flight asap. Its not letting me transfere over my credit to an earlier flight…HELP.

  • Monirul Sheikh


    Like it or not, Virgin is by far a superior product than Qantas; and this is where Qantas obsessed CEO has expressed himself so lowly which is very much unbecoming of a Qantas CEO. This is a total leadership failure. Until & unless we have an immediate replacement of him, QANTAS brand will vanish just like we lost HOLDEN.

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