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Sunday, June 5, 2011

7000 Qantas cabin crew staff offered redundancy

High oil and jet fuel prices are being blamed for Qantas' decision to offer voluntary redundancies to all 7000 of its cabin crew staff. Photo supplied

Qantas hopes 350 - or five per cent - of its cabin crew will take up voluntary redundancy, as the airline tries to cut costs in the face of rising jet fuel prices.
All of the 7000 carrier's cabin crew were contacted on Thursday and asked to give expressions of interest in the redundancy program.
The last time Qantas made such a call was in 2008, when 150 cabin crew took up its offer.
"We expect that around 350 voluntary redundancies may be offered to staff, that's around five per cent of our 7000 cabin crew," a Qantas spokesman told AAP today.
However, the numbers are not expected to be finalised until July when the expressions of interest process is completed.
Cabin crew have been assured that there would be no forced redundancies.
Qantas said the move was a reaction to the "considerable challenges" it now faces in the aviation market.
"Qantas still faces considerable challenges, including high jet fuel costs in our international business, and this voluntary redundancy is part of a number of measures that we are implementing to address these challenges," Qantas said in a statement today.
Chief executive Alan Joyce says Qantas is facing its most serious challenge since the peak of the global financial crisis.
"We need to act decisively to respond to rising fuel costs and natural disasters, just like we did during the global financial crisis, to ensure the ongoing sustainability of our business," he told ABC online.
Qantas wants to reduce its planned capacity growth on domestic flights from 14 to eight per cent, and on international routes from ten to seven per cent.
Qantas will also suspend up to four Jetstar services from Australia to Japan, as well as Qantas flights between Perth and Tokyo, and put a smaller capacity aircraft on the Sydney-Tokyo route.
The airline is also cutting three daily New Zealand domestic flights to Christchurch and one Melbourne to Christchurch flight, the ABC reports.
The announcement came on the same day the airline announced its international unit carried 509,000 passengers in April 2011, up 7.4 per cent from April 2010.
Qantas last month announced it will lift the price of its European flights after the EU, under its emissions trading scheme, said it would force the airline to pay a tax on 15 per cent of its carbon emissions from its nearest port of departure.
Meanwhile, a recent US study placed Qantas fourth in the world for revenue raised by ancillary charges for items such as baggage.
Qantas earned about $1.5 billion in 2010 as a result of the charges, consultancy firm IdeaWorks found, placing it fourth below US airlines Delta, American and United.
The move towards voluntary redundancy for cabin crew is the latest in a series of industrial issues for the airline.
The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) is currently considering industrial action over wages and conditions following a canvas of its 1700 members.
If the pilot's strike goes ahead, it will be the first of its kind in 45 years.
The airline's management have also recently been in negotiations with union groups over wage and working conditions.
In mid May, 1600 engineers scrapped plans for nationwide strikes.
Members of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) planned strikes at airports around the country as part of the ongoing row over pay and conditions.
On Thursday on the Australian Stock Exchange, Qantas closed down two cents at $2.09 a share, down 0.95 per cent.

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