Aviation

Qantas rubbishes latest speculation of mass job cuts

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Fresh claims of mass job cuts at the flying kangaroo have been brushed aside by the airline.

An employee involved in looming job cuts that are expected to occur at Qantas around Christmas has told The Australian Financial Review as many as 400 positions could be lost at the airline.

According to the publication, company managers at the airline are reportedly “upset” about being required to carry out the job cuts in the wake of publicity surrounding Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce’s “huge pay packet”, a Qantas source told the outlet.

In September, Alan Joyce topped the list of Australia’s highest-paid ASX 200 CEOs for 2018, earning $23.9 million.

At the time, a Qantas spokesman told Travel Weekly Joyce’s salary reflected the positive turnaround of FY17, which saw Qantas Group’s market value rise from $2.5 billion to about $10 billion, and its share price rise by around 350 per cent.

“Executive bonuses, which are mostly paid in Qantas shares, were higher as a result because shares awarded at about $1.20 were paid out at closer to $6,” the spokesperson said.

According to the spokesman, Joyce’s salary has dropped twice “in the two years since the data in this report”, with the company setting aside some $340 million for bonuses to non-executive employees.

At time of writing, Qantas’ shares are trading at $7.16.

Later, following a ‘soft’ first-quarter, Joyce flagged that the airline would have a “strong focus” on cutting costs given lower demand for air travel.

At the time, reports emerged as many as 1,200 jobs could be cut, to which a Qantas spokesman told Travel Weekly, “the figures being quoted are wrong”.

With the latest reports of job cuts at Qantas, the airline has again disputed the number of job losses, pointing to a corporate restructure focused on head office roles rather than operational jobs.

Speaking to AFR, a spokesman from the airline passed on a statement, identical to that received by media earlier this month:

“We recently confirmed that our group executive committee would reduce by one and there would be consolidation of some corporate roles where it made sense to do so, but the figures being quoted are wrong,” the Qantas spokesman said.

“To be clear about this, we are still growing in cabin crew, in pilots, in airport staff.

“In a business the size of Qantas, there is often change occurring.”

Last week the topic of job cuts reportedly resurfaced, with Qantas aiming “aggressive cost-cutting initiatives” at its domestic operations to lift operating margins, according to AFR.

At the time, the airline’s spokesman said this would not result in significant job losses.

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