Qantas has announced more job cuts in its international division as border closures continue to hurt the airline’s revenue.
International cabin crew will be asked to volunteer for redundancy, with several hundred expected to apply.
The news comes as the national carrier is expected to report a loss of more than $2 billion this financial year.
A market update to the ASX on Thursday said a two-year wage freeze would also be imposed across the airline’s workforce and management.
Two per cent annual pay rises would come after that period, instead of 3 per cent before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move to cut jobs follows the latest delay in the likely reopening of international borders, forcing Qantas to push back its planned resumption of overseas flights from late October to mid-December.
The airline is confident net debt has peaked and has started to pay off its significant debt as it looks to repair its balance sheet.
Qantas feels like it’s starting to turn the corner after a year being battered by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia’s flagship carrier expects to report underlying earnings of between $400 million and $450 million in this financial year.
“We have a long way still to go in this recovery but it does feel like we’re slowly starting to turn the corner,” CEO Alan Joyce said.
“We’ve adjusted our expectations for when international borders will start opening based on the government’s new timeline.
“But our fundamental assumption remains the same – that once the national vaccine rollout is effectively complete, Australia can and should open up.”
The pandemic has taken its toll on Qantas, with the airline forecasting a total revenue loss of $16 billion by the end of fiscal 2021.
Mr Joyce said Australia should apply the “same intensity” to the vaccine rollout as did to lockdowns and restrictions.
“Because only then will we have the confidence to open up.”
The federal government has warned international travel and border restrictions will remain in place for “some time”, arguing Australia must play it safe.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been criticised by business leaders, health officials and some colleagues for not giving certainty on when the country can reopen.
The budget papers assume a timeframe of a mid-2022 deadline, but there’s no guarantees and it could extend well into 2023.