Qantas and Jetstar Will Suspend International Flights from Late March
The airlines will also temporarily stand down two-thirds of their 30,000 staff.
Following yesterday's indefinite, effective ban on all international travel, in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 across Australia, Qantas and Jetstar have announced they will suspend all scheduled international flights from late March until the end of May 2020.
As a result, the airlines will temporarily step down two-thirds of their 30,000-person staff until at least the end of May. In a statement, the Qantas Group says the decision was made "in order to preserve as many jobs as possible longer term". Employees will be able to draw on "annual and long service leave" and additional support will be introduced, including leave at half pay and early access to long service leave. Qantas says it is also talking to Woolworths about temporary jobs for its stood-down staff.
The decision comes after Qantas and Jetstar earlier this week announced they'd be cutting back international flights by 90 percent and domestic flights by 60 percent. For now, domestic flights will continue running at a 40 percent capacity, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying "domestic air travel is low risk".
We could see domestic flights cut further in the near future, however, with Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein this morning announcing that from midnight this Friday, March 20 only essential travellers will be allowed into Tasmania without quarantine. Non-essential travellers, including Tasmanian residents returning to the island from mainland Australia, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Essential travellers include health care workers, emergency workers, defence personnel and air and ship crew.
These measures are similar to those currently in place for international travellers arriving into Australia, which mandates compulsory 14-day isolation periods for everyone arriving from overseas.
Virgin Australia will also suspend all international flights from March 30, and will cut domestic flights by 50 percent, too.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.
Published on March 19, 2020 by Samantha Teague