Onboard Qantas 444 As 5000 Jobs Are Cut

Today I flew from Melbourne, Australia to Sydney, Australia on flight 444. It was my first trip with Qantas and all I could think was, wow, if they didn’t have personal iPads streaming entertainment for every single passenger onboard the flight, perhaps they wouldn’t have to cut so many jobs.   My second thought was, wow, I wonder how many iPads they have and how them keep them all charged up.

The mood at the airport and onboard the flight was noticeably different and there were news crews interviewing passengers inside the terminal.  The TVs broadcast the press conferences and commentary.  Every single TV was tuned to the news.

I overheard a few agents at the gate discussing the cuts and what the future might hold for them.  I was told that they expect more cuts to be announced. The rumors in Melbourne are that Qantas could cut another 3,000 jobs.

In addition to the job cuts came a wage freeze.  news that none of the Qantas employees I talked to seemed very happy about.  Part of the problem, I suspect, is that the cost of living in Australia’s major cities is outrageous.  Sydney and Melbourne are in the top 5 most expensive cities in the world.  The average salary for a Qantas employee is $92,000.  Compare that to the $52,000 average salary of a Singapore Airlines employee and you can start to see why Qantas may not be as profitable as they’d like.  (Salary averages as reported by the Australia’s Sky News on Feb 26 2014.)

Qantas provides free drinks and snacks onboard domestic flights.  Today they served a cookie of some sort.  The one-hour flight from Melbourne to Sydney was completely full – not an empty seat to be found.  One crew member told me that’s standard for Qantas flights to Sydney, full flights are the norm.

So why is Qantas in so much trouble?  If you believe the airline it’s because of Virgin Australia. They say Virgin has cut into the market and there is “an unfair playing field” because Virgin is allowed more foreign investors than Qantas.  The foreign investment in Qantas is limited by the Qantas Sales Act – something Qantas is now petitioning the government to change.

It’s a shame that so many people have lost their jobs at a time when several other major companies including Toyota and Holden announced major job cuts.  Hopefully the laid-off employees can go work for foreign-backed Virgin Australia.

(Image Copyright: Qantas Airlines)



5 Comments on "Onboard Qantas 444 As 5000 Jobs Are Cut"

  1. Sad how management and competition is squeezing the life out of a great and safe legacy carrier. Middle East and Asian carriers are cutting into its long haul market to Europe/Asia. For the trans Pacific market United, Hawaiian and Air Canada are cutting into that segment. Even Air New Zealand is doing great and some Aussies don’t mind flying with them to L.A. Essentially Qantas has been surrounded and I just hope they can somehow recover. But they’ll need a new CEO to pull it off. That or the fix has been in to decimate Qantas and carve up the market. Emirates alone can supply all the seats the Aussie long haul market requires with their huge A380 fleet. It’s a cruel world out there.

  2. @Steve – I totally agree. The market is getting tougher by the day.

  3. Wow $92K average salary for QF FAs! I’d like to get paid that much while working from LAX or SFO 😉

  4. @Jim – they didn’t say $92k for FAs, they said that was the average salary for ALL Qantas employees…so I’m sure some make $500K and some make $50k.

  5. I was a Qantas FA and in my last year of employment I made $43k inclusive of the extra allowances. No bank would even touch me for a home loan with that.

    If they took ALL QF employees and averaged them out, keep in mind that Joyce’s millions would have bumped up that average….. Even the plumber at the airport made more than I did… so no, Qantas FAs are not rich by any means

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