Qantas Airways’ CEO, Alan Joyce, is defending the company’s decision after announcing that it would be laying off 20,000 staff members in the face of continuing fallout from the coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Australian national carrier and its budget brand, Jetstar, announced on March 17, 2020, that two-thirds of their 30,000-odd employees would be stood down from their duties until at least the end of May, with the situation to be reassessed in April.
Qantas and its subsidiaries have already suspended all international flights, following the Australian federal government’s edict that its citizens should avoid all international travel.
Joyce explained that, with 150 of its aircraft grounded, the carrier’s pilots, cabin crew, baggage handlers and airport lounge workers will be the worst affected by the layoffs.
Staff members will be allowed to use their leave and long service leave, and those who don’t can borrow up to four net weeks of leave time against their future earnings. “We will pay for that and that gives them the next four weeks,” Joyce said.
However, national secretary for the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Michael Kaine, made the case that Qantas executives are essentially forcing their own employees to bail-out the airline in a time of crisis by compelling them to use up the vacation time they’re owed and seizing leave balances that aren’t yet accrued.
“It means when the airline returns to profitability, its share price will soar and executives will return to massive bonuses on the back of workers sacrificing their entitlements,” Kaine argued.
In a response issued to the COVID-19-worst-crisis-hit-industry.html?ito=rss-flipboard” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>Daily Mail, a Qantas spokeswoman rebutted, “The coronavirus is the biggest crisis to ever face global aviation, and the TWU would rather criticize the company and grandstand than work with us to weather the storm.”
In a video-recorded interview with coronavirus/12069876″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>ABC 7.30, speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic, Joyce opined, “I know for the economy it’s probably going to be a lot worse than the GFC,” in reference to the 2008 global financial crisis. “These are the worst times we’ve ever seen in aviation. This is the biggest crisis aviation has ever gone through,” he said and went on to communicate the overall message that Qantas will do whatever it takes to survive.
In defense of the company’s mass-scale layoff, Joyce said that the decision to stand down two-thirds of its workforce until the end of May, at the earliest, seemed a better route than losing skilled employees. He argued, “At the end of the day, we’re protecting these jobs. 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.”
In its reply to the Daily Mail, Qantas suggested that, if carriers continued to pay their workers when there was no work to be done, there would be no airlines left to employ them.
The airline is sticking solidly to this rationale, despite the AU$715-million stimulus and support package granted by the Australian federal government to the nation’s aviation industry on March 18, 2020. Joyce said that, even with this assistance, Qantas may be forced to dismiss more of its workers as the COVID-19 situation progresses.
Reportedly, Joyce has voluntarily declined to draw a salary until at least the end of this fiscal year, while the pay of senior executives and board members has been frozen.
For more information, visit qantas.com.
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Survey Highlights Coronavirus Changes Airline Passengers Want
A recent survey of business and leisure airline passengers highlighted the guidelines and health-related equipment travelers are looking for when boarding a plane during and after the coronavirus outbreak.
According to information from Honeywell, around 72 percent were more concerned with the environment on an airplane than in an airport, which only saw 28 percent of respondents voice the most concern.
Nearly 60 percent of respondents also cited social distancing as their top priority during travel, while about half of those surveyed cited air quality (51 percent) and personal protective equipment such as masks (47 percent) as top priorities.
“This survey demonstrates that passengers want high-tech solutions to best validate the entire travel experience as it relates to health and safety,” Honeywell vice president Kevin Suits said in a statement. “Honeywell offers a variety of relevant solutions today that we can bring forward to support travelers.
“We continue to speak with airline executives and transportation leaders about the types of new products and services that would support their efforts to further clean and monitor the cleanliness of their aircraft,” Suits continued. “We are quickly bringing to market new offerings that would be a win-win for our industry and all of us who love to fly.”
In terms of in-flight amenities most-desired by passengers, masks, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes top the list. Travelers also revealed that cleanliness validation via technology was by far (60 percent) the most important way to provide confidence.
A portion of surveyed passengers also thinks that providing cleaning supplies directly to the passenger would help ensure confidence in the cleanliness of the cabin.
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