Qantas will cut 5000 jobs in the biggest shake-up of its operations since the national airline began.
Chief executive Alan Joyce today unveiled a major restructuring plan to convince markets and the Abbott Government that it has “its house in order” and can come back from its huge losses. With the spotlight on the special laws which affect the airline’s ownership and also on industrial relations at the company, Mr Joyce is expected to address a number of issues.
The Abbott Government insists that it is up to management to reduce costs to keep the carrier viable.
The airline has been battling record fuel prices and fierce competition and is working to slash costs by $2 billion over three years.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Government deeply regretted the company’s plan to axe 5000 jobs. She used the decision to again push the case for a repeal of the carbon tax, which costs Qantas more than $100 million a year.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused the Government of not taking serious action. “This is the worst day for aviation people since the collapse of Ansett,” Shorten said.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon, a vocal critic of Qantas management, has called for a judicial inquiry, taking aim at Mr Joyce. “The jobs that should have been lost are Alan Joyce and his board,” he said.
The need to save the ailing airline has renewed debate about foreign ownership. “Instead of reviewing the Qantas Sale Act, the Abbott Government should be offering the company a government-guaranteed standby line of credit,” Shorten told the Sydney Morning Herald. – Kim Ravia
Photo from Sydney Airport website.