Aviation

Qantas to consolidate corporate roles, as airline prepares for multi-billion-dollar aircraft deal

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

The flying kangaroo is expected to announce redundancies as part of a head office restructure.

Last week, Qantas shared a staff letter from CEO Alan Joyce revealing that the airline’s head office would go through a shake-up, following the retirement of its human resources executive Lesley Grant, later this year.

“As a result of Lesley’s retirement, we’re taking the opportunity to streamline the group management committee. This means the functions currently under the group executive of people and culture will move to sit with existing corporate services, reducing the size of the GMC by one,” Joyce said.

Grant’s position will not be filled, which will see the people, culture and corporate affairs department at Qantas joined to the group management committee, to reduce “complexity” and improve efficiency.

After a ‘soft’ first-quarter result, Joyce reportedly flagged that Qantas would have a “strong focus” on cutting costs given lower demand for air travel, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, a Qantas spokesperson confirmed there would be redundancies under the restructure, but said reports as many as 1, 200 jobs would be cut were false.

“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 spokesperson said.

“To be clear about this, we are still growing in cabin crew, in pilots, in airport staff. We have a new aircraft arriving next week.

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

The announcement comes as Joyce reiterated 2020 as the year Qantas will make its multi-billion-dollar order to replace its fleet of short-haul aircraft operating on its domestic network.

In October, Joyce said Qantas will be looking to place an order for 75 aircraft with either Boeing or Airbus. He has since confirmed in an interview the order will be placed to renew Qantas’ short-haul fleet over the next 10 years.

“The replacements are not needed until the end of the next decade, the 2020s, but given how fast aircraft orders are filling up you need to make a decision, we think, in 2020,” Joyce said, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

The announcement of cuts also comes after Joyce topped the list of Australia’s highest-paid ASX-200 CEOs in 2018, earning $23.9 million.

At the time, a Qantas spokesperson 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.

With the release of Qantas’ financial results for FY19, the airline revealed a 6.5 per cent drop in net profit after tax to $891 million for the last financial year, and a 16.8 per cent fall in underlying profit before tax to $1.3 billion.

At the time, the airline attributed the profit result to a $614 million increase in fuel costs from higher oil prices, and a further $154 million of the foreign exchange impacts on non-fuel net expenditure.

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