Business & Economy

Qantas stands down 2,500 employees due to Covid outbreaks

Sydney, Australia, Aug 3 (EFE).- Australian airline Qantas announced on Tuesday that it will stand down some 2,500 employees for two months due to Covid-19 outbreaks affecting domestic flights.

The country is experiencing a rebound in infections, including of the Delta variant, which has forced the lockdown of Greater Sydney in New South Wales until at least Aug. 27, and the imposition of similar measures in the states of South Australia and Victoria.

The city of Brisbane and 10 neighboring jurisdictions in Queensland are locked down from until Aug. 8 due to another outbreak linked to the Delta variant.

“Qantas and (group low-cost carrier) Jetstar have gone from operating almost 100 per cent of their usual domestic flying in May to less than 40 per cent in July because of lockdowns in three states,” Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement.

The spread of the virus in Australia also led New Zealand last month to temporarily suspend the quarantine-free travel bubble opened in mid-April between the two countries.

Qantas said it will pay salaries until mid-August to those affected in the group, including pilots of domestic routes, crew and ground personnel who operate mainly in the state of New South Wales.

The airline expects Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, to be closed for at least two more months due to persistent cases of community transmission.

The authorities of NSW registered 199 new infections on Tuesday, bringing the total since the outbreak to 3,800 local cases and 15 deaths.

“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,” Joyce added.

Qantas, which posted losses of $862 million between June and December 2020, announced the dismissal of 2,000 ground employees last November. EFE


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