Qantas to slash 90% of worldwide capacity as new virus restrictions bite

Andrew Cummings
March 18, 2020

The changes, which include a 60% cut to domestic capacity, represent the grounding of 150 aircraft, up from plans to ground 38 announced last week.

Both Qantas and Jetstar on Tuesday announced further and much larger cuts to domestic and worldwide flying schedules as coronavirus travel bans intensify.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said at the weekend that airlines had enough cash reserves to remain viable for now, but did not rule out a bailout to stop Qantas and other carriers going under.

Airlines around the world are reeling as containment measures tighten in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.

Air New Zealand announced on Tuesday it would cut 13 routes to Australia and would run just 20 per cent of regular trans-Tasman capacity. It's not ruling out further cuts.

Melbourne-Los Angeles will be the first worldwide route to be suspended on March 20.

The Qantas Group, which is based in Australia, said this is due to "significant falls" in travel demand because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and new government restrictions across multiple jurisdictions in recent days.

Qantas said it would have a significant labor surplus across its operations as a result and the impact was likely to be felt across its workforce of 30,000 people.

Meanwhile, shares in Regional Express entered a trading halt for unspecified reasons on Tuesday.

The group was undertaking a range of measures to address the current situation including the use of accrued annual leave, without pay, redeployment and, in some circumstances, redundancies.

The route was already reduced from a daily service to three return flights per week before the first flight took place.

Jetstar Airways is now offering customers with existing and new bookings for domestic and global travel the ability to cancel their booking and receive a credit voucher. However, to eb eligible for the offer, you'll need to cancel before March 31, 2020.

Other reports by iNewsToday