Category Archives: QANTAS Airways

ACCC finds QANTAS and Japan Airlines alliance is not in the public interest

ACCC issued this statement:

All QANTAS Link jet aircraft to have inflight entertainment

QANTAS Airways Group made this announcement:

QantasLink’s jet aircraft are set to receive an A-list upgrade with the regional airline to progressively roll out inflight entertainment streamed to customers’ own devices from the end of September onwards.

For the first time customers traveling on more than 50 Boeing 717, Fokker 100, Airbus A320 and Alliance Airline’s Embraer E190 aircraft will soon be able to stream more than 2,500 hours of premiere movies including Cruella and Black Widow, binge-worthy TV series such as Billions and Mare of Easttown and audiobooks via the Qantas Entertainment app to their own personal device.

Customers will also have access to more content through streaming partner Stan, including exclusive TV shows and Stan Original films.

The entertainment upgrade begins on one of QantasLink’s A320 aircraft this week, with the streaming technology to be progressively installed across all QantasLink jet aircraft by the second half of 2022.

Inflight entertainment via the Qantas Entertainment App is currently offered on QantasLink’s dual-cabin 717 aircraft and the Qantas 737 and A330 fleets that fly domestically. The 737s and domestic A330s also feature free, high-speed WiFi.

The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple Store and Google Play prior to departure. Additionally, inflight entertainment can be accessed via a browser for anyone who does not have the app loaded on their device.

Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully said when the roll out was complete, inflight entertainment would be available on up to 180 Qantas and QantasLink aircraft.

QANTAS Group outlines its strategy for restarting international flights, will return some A380s

QANTAS Airways Airbus A380-842 VH-OQE (msn 027) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 954807.

QANTAS Group has issued this report:

  • Gradual restart planned around National Cabinet’s phased reopening of international borders.
  • Current date of December 2021 remains in reach, based on pace of vaccine rollout.
  • Plans remain dependent on Government decisions in coming months, including future quarantine requirements.
  • Destinations with high vaccination rates are initial focus, including North America, UK, Singapore, Japan.
  • Early return of five A380s to meet high demand to Los Angeles and London from mid-2022.
  • Total of 10 A380s with upgraded cabins to return to service; two to be retired.

The Qantas Group has provided more detail on preparations for restarting its international flights, with plans linked to the vaccine rollout in Australia and key overseas markets.

On current projections Australia is expected to reach National Cabinet’s ‘Phase C’ vaccination threshold of 80 per cent in December 2021, which would trigger the gradual reopening of international borders.

Similarly, key markets like the UK, North America and parts of Asia have high and increasing levels of vaccination. This makes them highly likely to be classed as low risk countries for vaccinated travelers to visit and return from under reduced quarantine requirements, pending decisions by the Australian Government and entry policies of other countries.

This creates a range of potential travel options that Qantas and Jetstar are now preparing for. While COVID has shown that circumstances can change unexpectedly, the long lead times for international readiness means the Group needs to make some reasonable assumptions based on the latest data to make sure it can offer flights to customers as soon as they become feasible.

Flights to destinations that still have low vaccine rates and high levels of COVID infection will now be pushed out from December 2021 until April 2022 – including Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg. Levels of travel demand – and therefore, capacity levels – will hinge largely on government decisions on alternative requirements to mandatory hotel isolation for fully vaccinated travelers.

Assuming current projections hold and the 80 per cent vaccine threshold is met in December, Qantas and Jetstar plan to trigger a gradual restart as outlined below. If those assumptions change or dates move, the restart plans will adjust accordingly.

SUMMARY OF INTERNATIONAL RESTART PLANS

  • From mid-December 2021, flights would start from Australia to COVID-safe destinations, which are likely to include Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada using Boeing 787s, Airbus A330s, and 737s and A320s for services to Fiji.
  • Flights between Australia and New Zealand will be on sale for travel from mid-December 2021 on the assumption some or all parts of the two-way bubble will restart.
  • Qantas’ ability to fly non-stop between Australia and London is expected to be in even higher demand post-COVID. The airline is investigating using Darwin as a transit point, which has been Qantas’ main entry for repatriation flights, as an alternative (or in addition) to its existing Perth hub given conservative border policies in Western Australia. Discussions on this option are continuing.
  • Five A380s will return to service ahead of schedule. These would fly between Sydney and LA from July 2022, and between Sydney and London (via Singapore) from November 2022. The A380s work well
    on these long-haul routes when there’s sufficient demand, and the high vaccination rates in both markets would underpin this.
  • Qantas will extend the range of its A330-200 aircraft to operate some trans-Pacific routes such as Brisbane-Los Angeles and Brisbane-San Francisco. This involves some technical changes that are now being finalised with Airbus.
  • Flights to Hong Kong will restart in February and the rest of the Qantas and Jetstar international network is planned to open up from April 2022, with capacity increasing gradually.
  • Qantas to take delivery of three 787-9s (new aircraft that have been in storage with Boeing) during FY23 to operate additional flights to key markets as demand increases.
  • Jetstar to take delivery of its first three Airbus A321neo LR aircraft from early FY23, the extended range of which will free up some of its 787s to be redeployed on other markets.

In total, 10 of Qantas’ A380s with upgraded interiors are expected to return to service by early 2024, with timing dependent on how quickly the market recovers. Two A380s will be retired.

Readiness for international travel to restart is supported by ongoing repatriation and charter flights using A330s and 787s, as well as specific funding from the Australian Government for crew training and engineering work to return idle aircraft to service.

Outlining the restart assumptions as part of the national carrier’s full year results, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “The prospect of flying overseas might feel a long way off, especially with New South Wales and Victoria in lockdown, but the current pace of the vaccine rollout means we should have a lot more freedom in a few months’ time.

“It’s obviously up to government exactly how and when our international borders re-open, but with Australia on track to meet the 80 per cent trigger agreed by National Cabinet by the end of the year, we need to plan ahead for what is a complex restart process.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen, including training for our people and carefully bringing aircraft back into service. We’re also working to integrate the IATA travel pass into our systems to help our customers prove their vaccine status and cross borders.

“We can adjust our plans if the circumstances change, which we’ve already had to do several times during this pandemic. Some people might say we’re being too optimistic, but based on the pace of the vaccine rollout, this is within reach and we want to make sure we’re ready,” added Mr Joyce.

Qantas has recently extended its Fly Flexible policy, offering customers who book international flights before 28 February 2022 with unlimited ‘fee free’ date changes when travelling before 31 December 2022. (A fare difference may apply).

Qantas has also extended credit vouchers for bookings made on or before 30 September 2021 to enable travel until 31 December 2023. Jetstar customers issued with a voucher due to COVID-19 disruptions are able to use their voucher to book flights until at least 31 December 2022, for flights up to the end of 2023.

International flights remain subject to Government and Regulatory approval.

NATIONAL CABINET ‘PHASE C’ REOPENING PLAN

  • Triggered when vaccine rate among eligible Australians reaches 80 per cent
  • Highly targeted lockdowns only
  • No caps on returning vaccinated Australians
  • Lift all restrictions on outbound travel for vaccinated Australians
  • Extend travel bubble for unrestricted travel to new candidate countries
  • Gradual reopening of inward and outward international travel with safe countries and proportionate quarantine and reduced requirements for fully vaccinated inbound travelers

Top Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways Airbus A380-842 VH-OQE (msn 027) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 954807.

QANTAS Airways aircraft slide show:

QANTAS Group posts significant loss from full year of COVID

QANTAS Group has issued this financial report:

  • Underlying Loss Before Tax: $1.83 billion
  • Statutory Loss Before Tax: $2.35 billion
  • $12 billion revenue impact from COVID-19 crisis in FY21
  • Net debt reduced in 2H21 to $5.9 billion
  • Statutory Net Free Cash flow of $267 million in 2H21
  • Restructuring program ahead of target, delivering $650 million in year one
  • Total liquidity of $3.8 billion, providing buffer against uncertainty
  • 95 per cent of domestic flying cash positive
  • Record performance by Qantas Freight mostly offsetting cost of idling international operations
  • Continued strong cash generation, growth in members at Qantas Loyalty
  • Updated plan for restart of international services from end-2021
  • Ongoing flexibility for customers in response to booking uncertainty

The Qantas Group has posted a substantial full year loss as a result of the COVID crisis – but has started FY22 in a fundamentally better position to deal with uncertainty and manage its recovery compared with 12 months ago.

Total revenue loss from COVID reached $16 billion as the full year impact of minimal international travel and multiple waves of domestic border restrictions continued to hit travel demand.

The Group’s Underlying PBT loss was $1.83 billion. The statutory loss before tax – which includes one-off costs such as redundancies and aircraft write downs – was $2.35 billion. Underlying EBITDA was $410 million, in line with guidance provided in May.

Periods of open domestic borders in the second half saw significant cash generation by Qantas and Jetstar, which helped the Group to reduce net debt from $6.4 billion in February 2021 down to $5.9 billion by the end of June. Throughout the year, cash flow was underpinned by continued strong performance by Qantas Loyalty and significantly higher international yields for Qantas Freight.

As well as delivering an essential service under very challenging circumstances, the Group made significant progress towards its recovery program. Planned rightsizing is largely complete and much restructuring has been implemented. Central to these changes has been the ability to better manage costs in the face of sudden border closures. Cost benefits from the recovery program were ahead of expectations for FY21 at $650 million.

GROUP DOMESTIC

Qantas and Jetstar’s combined Underlying EBITDA from domestic flying was $304 million, falling to an Underlying EBIT loss of $669 million after non-cash depreciation and amortization.

The Group’s domestic capacity fell as low as 19 per cent in July 2020 before steadily recovering and then peaking at 92 per cent in May 2021, until outbreaks of the Delta variant triggered a series of lockdowns.

Demand proved resilient throughout the year, with quick uptake in bookings when domestic borders re-opened. The Group has announced 46 new domestic routes since the start of the pandemic, many to regional destinations, in response to a boom in leisure travel driven largely by the closure of international borders. Corporate travel demand had recovered to around 75 per cent of pre-COVID levels in May[1] and Qantas won an additional 34 major accounts across the year. Demand from business, along with leisure travel, is expected to bounce back strongly once lockdowns end.

To better meet this demand, Jetstar is bringing in idle Airbus A320 aircraft from Asia and QantasLink accessed capacity via Alliance Airlines’ Embraer E190 aircraft. Going forward, this will help the Group exceed its pre-COVID capacity and market share as restrictions are removed.

GROUP INTERNATIONAL AND FREIGHT

Group International (including Freight) posted an Underlying EBITDA loss of $157 million, increasing to an Underlying EBIT loss of $1.0 billion after depreciation and amortization.

Qantas and Jetstar’s international flying remained largely grounded for most of FY21 due to the continued closure of Australia’s borders. A travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand saw some flying return but ongoing outbreaks meant this corridor was heavily restricted at various stages; Qantas’ capacity reached an average of 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels during quarter four.

Since the start of the pandemic the Group has operated almost 400 flights repatriating Australians and maintaining critical links to the Pacific and Timor-Leste on behalf of the Australian Government, as well as freight missions to key export markets, with its Airbus A330 and Boeing 787 aircraft. These flights are continuing into FY22 and, together with specific government funding for crew training and engineering support, assist with readiness for regular international travel.

Jetstar airlines in Asia, which are based in Singapore and Japan, continued to suffer from minimal travel demand and incurred losses.

Demand for air cargo capacity remained extremely strong through FY21 due to a surge in online shopping in the Australian market and the belly space lost due to the cancellation of most international passenger flights. Qantas Freight was able to capitalize on this demand, delivering a record profit that significantly offset the costs of the Group’s grounded international operations.

QANTAS LOYALTY

Qantas Loyalty continued to perform well, generating over $1 billion in gross cash and achieving record member satisfaction.

Underlying EBIT was $272 million despite a full year of COVID-related travel restrictions. Earnings in the second half were higher than the first half of FY21 and higher than the second half of FY20.

While opportunities to redeem Qantas Points in the air were limited, there was extremely strong demand when borders did open. Between January and lockdowns in June, redemption levels on domestic flights were 30 per cent above pre-COVID levels.

Members remained highly engaged, earning and redeeming large volumes of points on the ground. Spending on credit cards linked to Qantas Points returned to pre-COVID levels in the fourth quarter and over 500,000 members have now earned points through the partnership with bp Australia. There were record levels of points redeemed via Qantas Wine and the Qantas Store, in line with broader consumer trends.

In a year with minimal air travel, the total number of Frequent Flyer members grew by almost 200,000 to reach 13.6 million. The Qantas Insurance portfolio also continued to grow.

SUPPORTING OUR CUSTOMERS

A number of initiatives have been introduced to make travel easier and safer for customers in the midst of the COVID crisis, including:

  • Extending Frequent Flyers status and offering status match to high-tier members of other airline programs.
  • Offering unlimited date changes on all Qantas domestic and international fares through to at least February 2022.
  • Increasing the number of reward seats available on domestic, Trans-Tasman and international flights by up to 50 per cent, providing members with more opportunities to use their points to travel when borders are open.
  • Practical support of the national COVID-19 vaccine rollout to help create a safer travel experience, including plans to make vaccination a requirement for all Qantas Group employees and offering rewards to Frequent Flyers who are fully vaccinated. The COVID-safe Fly Well and Work Well programs remain in place.

FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK

The Qantas Group remains one of only seven airlines in the world to retain an investment grade credit rating[2] throughout the pandemic. Its focus remains on cost control and cash generation to enable continued debt reduction back to its target range.

As at 30 June 2021, the Group had total liquidity of $3.8 billion – made up of $2.2 billion in cash plus committed undrawn facilities of $1.6 billion. Major cash outflows associated with redundancies, refunds and delayed supplier payments are largely complete. The Group has more than $2.5 billion in unencumbered assets.

Net capital expenditure was $693 million, mostly for maintenance on the Group’s fleet.

An Expression of Interest process was launched in July 2021 to sell up to 14 hectares of under-developed industrial land in Mascot, which, if sold, could unlock several hundred million dollars to further assist with
debt reduction.

RECOVERY PROGRAM

The Group’s COVID recovery plan targets at least $1 billion in permanent annual savings from FY23 onwards.Progress is ahead of schedule, with $650 million in benefits delivered in FY21; this is targeted to increase to $850 million by the end of FY22.

A total of 9,400 people have now left the Qantas Group – an increase on the prior estimate of 8,500 largely due to offshore job losses at airports and sales offices, some automation and an increase in voluntary redundancies.

Approximately 6,000 employees associated with international flying remain stood down due to the closure of Australia’s external border, while an additional 2,500 employees are stood down as a result of domestic restrictions. Federal Government income support is available to Australian-based employees during this acutely challenging time.

CEO COMMENTS

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “This loss shows the impact that a full year of closed international borders and more than 330 days of domestic travel restrictions had on the national carrier. The trading conditions have frankly been diabolical.

“It comes on top of the significant loss we reported last year and the travel restrictions we’ve seen in the past few months. By the end of this calendar year, it’s likely COVID will cost us more than $20 billion in revenue.

“We’ve had to make a lot of big and difficult structural changes to deal with this crisis, and that phase is mostly behind us. As a result we’re geared to recover quickly, in-line with a national vaccine rollout that is speeding up.

“Things remain tough, especially for thousands of our people waiting to return to their jobs when borders open and hopefully stay open. Our focus is getting them back to work as soon as possible, which is why we were ramping up our flying and adding new destinations before the most recent lockdowns.

“Despite the uncertainty that’s still in front of us, we’re in a far better position to manage it than this time last year. We’re able to move quickly when borders open and close. We’re a leaner and more efficient organisation. And our requirement for all employees to be vaccinated will create a safer environment for our people and customers.

“When Australia reaches those critical vaccination targets later this year and the likelihood of future lockdowns and border closures reduces, we expect to see a surge in domestic travel demand and a gradual return of international travel.

“I’d like to specifically recognise everyone across this company, for dealing with a huge amount of upheaval due to this crisis and showing enormous commitment and professionalism in the process. Our people maintained an absolute focus on safety and on serving our customers, who have likewise been extremely understanding as we’ve all gone through this difficult period.”

FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY

The Qantas Group has previously announced clear and substantial sustainability goals, including capping its total emissions at 2019 levels, investing in a local Sustainable Aviation Fuel industry and reaching zero net emissions by 2050. The pandemic has slowed progress but the Group remains committed to reaching these targets, and has today announced a new Group Management Committee (GMC) position to drive this.

Current Group Executive, Andrew Parker, will become the Chief Sustainability Officer for the Qantas Group, having led these efforts since 2017 through his existing portfolio of Government, Industry, International and Sustainability.

As part of this change, the Group’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Andrew McGinnes, will take on responsibility for Government Relations in addition to his existing responsibilities and become a permanent member of GMC as Group Executive, Corporate Affairs.

OUTLOOK

Recent outbreaks and associated domestic and trans-Tasman border closures are expected to have an impact in the order of $1.4 billion on the Group’s Underlying EBITDA in the first half of FY22. This estimate assumes borders in Victoria and New South Wales re-open in early December 2021. If borders open earlier and flying returns more quickly, capacity can be adjusted accordingly.

Unfortunately, the extended border closures will also extend the stand downs of domestic crew and airport staff beyond the eight weeks previously announced – however, no job losses are expected.

Vaccination rates are expected to reach 70 per cent of the eligible population during November, enabling domestic lockdowns and border restrictions to be steadily eased.

The Group’s liquidity, strong position in the domestic market and progress on restructuring gives confidence that the overall recovery plan remains on track despite these significant setbacks.

Key assumptions for FY22 are[3]:

  • Net debt expected to be in target range by end of FY22.
  • Group Domestic capacity expected to increase from 38 per cent in Q1 to 53 per cent of pre-COVID capacity in Q2 and rise to ~110 per cent in 2H22.
  • International border closures and quarantine restrictions expected to ease once 80 per cent of eligible Australians are vaccinated from December 2021.
  • Qantas International flying in 1H22 expected to be at approximately 15 per cent of pre-COVID levels (through government-sponsored freight services and repatriation flights) on a block hour basis.
  • Once Australia’s borders start to reopen, Group International capacity is expected be 30 to 40 per cent in Q3 and 50 to 70 per cent in Q4 compared with pre-COVID levels on an ASK basis.
  • Recovery plan expected to deliver additional $200 million of cost benefits in FY22.
  • Continued strong cash contribution from Qantas Loyalty, with plans to offer more ways to earn points and status credits on the ground.
  • Domestic freight demand expected to remain strong; international freight belly space expected to be constrained until international capacity stabilises.

[1] Based on May weekly intakes.

[2] Investment grade credit rating issued by either Moody’s or S&P.

[3] Please see Investor Presentation for more detail on assumptions.

QANTAS’ new “Fly Away” TV advertisement encouraging vaccinations

QANTAS is asking everyone to get vaccinated:

We’re all dreaming about the day we can fly away to see family, friends or enjoy a long-overdue holiday. Getting vaccinated is an important step that every Australian can take to bring us that little bit closer to life as we knew it*.

If you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer who has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, we want to say thank you for protecting yourself and the community with your choice of reward, and the chance to win a fantastic major prize. Visit qantas.com/berewarded for more information. Conditions apply.

* Vaccinations must only be taken on the advice of a medical practitioner. International travel is subject to Australian government travel restrictions.

QANTAS rewards its vaccinated frequent flyers

QANTAS Airways and the QANTAS Group made this announcement:

  • A year’s worth of free flights, Accor hotel stays and bp fuel up for grabs*
  • Free Qantas Points, Status Credits or $20 flight discount for fully vaccinated Australians
  • Qantas teams up with Australian singer Tones And I to launch TVC to ‘Be Rewarded’

The Qantas Group is launching its reward campaign for COVID-19 vaccinated Australians to recognize their role in helping the country get out of lockdown.

From tomorrow, fully vaccinated Australian-based Frequent Flyers who are 18 and over will be able to claim their reward through the Qantas App by choosing one of three options:

  • 1000 Qantas points
  • 15 status credits (which help Frequent Flyers move up between Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers)
  • $20 flight discount for Qantas or Jetstar

Members will then be automatically entered into a mega prize draw to win a year’s worth of flights, accommodation and fuel.

Ten mega prizes will be up for grabs with a winner selected from each state and territory and two mega prize winners as part of a national TV campaign.

Winners of ten mega prizes will receive a year’s worth of flights to take off to more than 60 destinations around Australia, with free accommodation across 345 Accor hotels, resorts and apartments (including Sofitel, Pullman, Peppers, Mantra, Mercure, Mövenpick, Novotel and Ibis) and top up their cars with free fuel from any of bp’s 1,400 service stations across the country.

Winners will also be able to take off to any Qantas and Jetstar international destination when borders start to open.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the vaccine rollout was critical for protecting public health and key to breaking the cycle of lockdowns.

“Getting vaccinated is an important step that every Australian can take that brings us that little bit closer to life as we knew it.

“As the national carrier, we want to recognize those who have made the effort to protect themselves and the community.

“This is one of the biggest giveaways we’ve ever done. The impact of the pandemic on the travel industry and our own Qantas Group team members means we have a clear vested interest in the success of the vaccine rollout.

“Our crews can’t wait to get back to reuniting family and friends, taking people on holiday and putting some energy back into the whole tourism industry. For us, getting the vaccine rate up to 70 and 80 per cent means thousands of people can go back to work.

“With the Federal Government’s vaccine program ramping up across the country, now is the ideal time to say thank you to Australians for stepping up and protecting themselves and others.”

Australians can claim their points, status credits or flight discounts and be automatically entered in the mega prize draw by downloading the Qantas App (via the App Store or through Google Play), using their Medicare app to access and upload their COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate and selecting their reward choice.  Vaccination certificate information will be deleted upon verification.

Australian singer Tones And I made an exclusive rendition of her hit single “Fly Away” for Qantas’ ‘Be Rewarded’ campaign. The campaign will run across TV, digital, outdoor, print and radio thanks to media support.

 

QANTAS Group to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19

 

 

The QANTAS Group will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of the national carrier’s commitment to safety.

Frontline employees – including cabin crew, pilots and airport workers – will need to be fully vaccinated by 15 November 2021 and the remainder of employees by 31 March 2022. There will be exemptions for those who are unable for documented medical reasons to be vaccinated, which is expected to be very rare.

The policy follows consultation with Qantas and Jetstar employees including a survey sent to 22,000 people to seek their views on vaccination. The 12,000 responses received makes it one of the biggest single surveys on this topic in Australia. The results showed that of those who responded:

  • 89 per cent had already been vaccinated or are planning to be.
  • 4 per cent were unwilling or unable to get the jab.
  • Around three-quarters think it should be a requirement for all employees to be vaccinated and would be concerned if other employees in the workplace weren’t vaccinated.

Thousands of aviation workers supporting international flights in New South Wales, South Australia and New Zealand are already required to be vaccinated by those jurisdictions. Multiple airlines around the world have also made it a requirement.

Announcing the policy, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “Having a fully vaccinated workforce will safeguard our people against the virus but also protect our customers and the communities we fly to.

“One crew member can fly into multiple cities and come into contact with thousands of people in a single day. Making sure they are vaccinated given the potential of this virus to spread is so important and I think it’s the kind of safety leadership people would expect from us.

“We provide an essential service, so this will help guard against the disruptions that can be caused by just one positive COVID-case shutting down a freight facility or airport terminal,” Mr Joyce said.

“It’s clear that vaccinations are the only way to end the cycle of lockdowns and border closures and for a lot of Qantas and Jetstar employees that means getting back to work again. This was one of the largest responses to any survey we’ve conducted, even with thousands of our people stood down, which shows just how important this is for them.

“Since vaccines became available, we’ve strongly encouraged all of our people to get the jab and are offering paid time off to get it done. We were really pleased to see from the survey that more than three quarters of those who responded have already rolled up their sleeve at least once and 60 per cent have had both jabs.

“Many of our people said they would feel concerned about working with unvaccinated colleagues, which is something that many workplaces across the country are grappling with.

“We understand there will be a very small number of people who decide not to get the vaccine, and that’s their right, but it’s our responsibility to provide the safest possible environment for our employees and for our customers,” added Mr Joyce.

Further discussions will take place with employees, their health and safety representatives and unions over the coming weeks on the detail of the policy, including how medical exemptions will be applied.

In a separate survey of more than 1000 Qantas customers, 92 per cent said they expect Qantas crew to be fully vaccinated.

QANTAS GROUP EMPLOYEE SURVEY ON VACCINATIONS

Almost 12,000 responses to survey, representing 60 per cent of Australian-based Qantas Group employees.

  • 89 per cent have had at least one vaccine dose or plan to be vaccinated
    • 77 per cent have had at least one dose
    • 60 per cent are fully vaccinated
    • 12 per cent are booked or planning to book
  • 7 per cent undecided or preferred not to say
  • 4 per cent are unwilling or unable to get the vaccine

QANTAS announces status extension offer for its high flyers

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

Qantas has announced it will again help its top tiered Frequent Flyers retain their highly valued membership status by extending status support for members who are facing a possible tier downgrade between now and June 2022.

The airline made the same offer in November last year for members facing a possible tier downgrade (such as Platinum to Gold, or Gold to Silver) in 2021.  There are five membership levels in Qantas Frequent Flyer from Bronze up to Platinum One.  The higher the tier, the more member benefits.

With Australia’s international border still closed for now and domestic lockdowns currently making it challenging for members to earn the required Status Credits to retain their tier level, Qantas Frequent Flyer will throw them a retention lifeline.

Qantas is extending the current offer so that all Australian and New Zealand based tiered members (Silver and above) with a membership year ending in or before June 2022 will be able to maintain their status for another year by booking an eligible flight prior to their membership year end, for travel until June 2022.

Once the offer is activated Qantas Frequent Flyer will also roll over eligible Status Credits that members earned this year into their new membership year.

Qantas Loyalty Chief Executive Officer Olivia Wirth said the offer was designed to make it easy for members to hold on to their highly sought-after status.

“We know how important tier status is to our members and many of them have built it up over many years of flying with us.

“The offer to retain their current status by booking just one eligible flight is a great way for them to secure the additional 12 months of the benefits that come with being Silver or Gold, Platinum or Platinum One members, which will come into its own when everyone is back flying.”

Ms Wirth added, “Our members have remained highly engaged with the program even in the midst of a global pandemic.  We’ve seen bookings spike when restrictions have eased after previous outbreaks and we’re confident we’ll see the same when borders re-open this time. In fact, our data shows that 96% of Qantas customers intend to travel domestically in the next 12 months.

Maintaining their tier is not just about status for our highly valued Frequent Flyers, it’s about the range of benefits they enjoy when they fly with us or partner airlines, including the most extensive network of domestic and global lounges, extra checked baggage allowances and priority airport privileges.”

QANTAS Group temporarily lays off 2,500 crew members due to COVID-19

QANTAS Group made this announcement:

Around 2,500 frontline Qantas and Jetstar employees will be stood down for an estimated two months in response to ongoing COVID outbreaks.

The stand down is a temporary measure to deal with a significant drop in flying caused by COVID restrictions in Greater Sydney in particular and the knock-on border closures in all other states and territories. No job losses are expected.

Today’s decision will directly impact domestic pilots, cabin crew and airport workers, mostly in New South Wales but also in other states given the nature of airline networks. Employees will be given two weeks’ notice before the stand down takes effect, with pay continuing until mid-August.

Income support in the form of government disaster payments will be key to helping eligible employees get through this challenging period and the Qantas Group welcomes the targeted Federal Government support offered for those stood down outside of declared hotspots and to retain domestic aviation capability.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the difficult decision to trigger stand downs reflected the reality confronting many businesses operating in New South Wales.

“This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying and that means no work for a number of our people.

“We’ve absorbed a significant amount of cost since these recent lockdowns started and continued paying our people their full rosters despite thousands of cancelled flights.

“Qantas and Jetstar have gone from operating almost 100 per cent of their usual domestic flying[1] in May to less than 40 per cent in July because of lockdowns in three states.

“Hopefully, once other states open back up to South Australia and Victoria in the next week or so, and the current outbreak in Brisbane is brought under control, our domestic flying will come back to around 50 to 60 per cent of normal levels.

“Based on current case numbers, it’s reasonable to assume that Sydney’s borders will be closed for at least another two months. We know it will take a few weeks once the outbreak is under control before other states open to New South Wales and normal travel can resume.

“Fortunately, we know that once borders do reopen, travel is at the top of people’s list and flying tends to come back quickly, so we can get our employees back to work.

“This is extremely challenging for the 2,500 of our people directly impacted, but it’s also very different from this time last year when we had more than 20,000 employees stood down and most of our aircraft in hibernation for months on end.

“The vaccine rollout means the end is in sight and the concept of lockdowns will be a thing of the past. Australia just needs more people rolling up their sleeves as more vaccine arrives.

“The challenge around opening international borders remains. There are still several thousand Qantas and Jetstar crew who normally fly internationally and who have been on long periods of stand down since the pandemic began. Higher vaccination rates are also key to being able to fly overseas again, and finally getting all our people back to work,” added Mr Joyce.

[1] Based on FY19 capacity levels.

QANTAS Link to launch flights from Brisbane to the Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine)

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

Queenslanders will have more travel options to the world-famous Whitsundays with QANTAS Link launching direct flights from Brisbane to the Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) for the first time in seven years.

From September 17, 2021, QANTAS Link will operate up to seven weekly return flights between Proserpine and Brisbane with its 74-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft, adding more than 1000 seats on the route each week.

It follows the new routes QANTAS Link commenced from Brisbane to Albury and Cooma earlier this week. Between QANTAS, QANTAS Link and Jetstar, the Group has now launched more than 45 new routes since international borders closed, around half of which are into Queensland.

QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the new route would create stronger connections to the popular tourism destination.

The new Brisbane-Proserpine service will complement Jetstar flights to the Whitsunday Coast from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.