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Australia Qantas boss Alan Joyce defends staff stand down

22:35  19 march  2020
22:35  19 march  2020 Source:   9news.com.au

Qantas boss Alan Joyce defends laying off 20,000 workers and says coronavirus is the worst crisis to EVER hit the aviation industry

  Qantas boss Alan Joyce defends laying off 20,000 workers and says coronavirus is the worst crisis to EVER hit the aviation industry Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has defended the decision to stand down 20,000 staff in the face of the coronavirus outbreak which he described as the worst crisis to ever hit the airline industry.The national carrier announced on Thursday it will be suspending all international flights and standing down two-thirds of its workforce in the face of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has defended his decision to stand down two-thirds of the airline's workers in the face of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic as a supermarket giant offered to redeploy some of the carrier's staff.

The airline announced yesterday it will temporarily stand down 20,000 workers after suspending all international flights and reducing domestic flights.

The move came after the federal government declared that from 9pm today, all non-Australian citizens or residents will be banned from travelling into the country. Direct family members will still be allowed entry.

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  Qantas, Jetstar flight cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic and how they will affect you With both airlines cutting 60 per cent of Australian flights due to the COVID-19 outbreak, travellers are scrambling to complete essential trips. Qantas and Jetstar are suspending all international flights from late March as well as cutting 60 per cent of domestic flights because of coronavirus.

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"This is the worst crisis the aviation industry has gone through. I know for the economy it's probably going to be a lot worse than the GFC," Mr Joyce told ABC's 7.30 program.

He said his focus was on getting through the crisis and being ready to help with the recovery once it is over.

"That's going to be an important role we will play," he said.

"We're not making people redundant and we're trying this mechanism to make sure we can get through and survive and they have a job at the end of the day."

Qantas will suspend all international flights from late this month until at least the end of May.

The company is allowing workers to access long service leave early, and those who have exhausted their annual leave to take up to four weeks in advance.

Mr Joyce is also in discussions with supermarket giant Woolworths to redeploy some workers. Supermarket shelves have been facing an influx of shoppers fearing essentials will soon run out. Shelves have been stripped bare of items such as toilet paper, milk and meat.

The Qantas boss said he had been speaking to Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci about redeploying some of the airline workers.

"He (Mr Banducci) thinks Qantas employees are ideal employees to have in loading shelves," Mr Joyce said. 

The airline, which has also frozen the pay of senior executives and board members, made an $891 million profit in 2018/19 but, like its competitors, has been decimated by the spread of the virus and escalating lockdown measures

- Reported with AAP

How is coronavirus transmitted?

 The human coronavirus is only spread from someone infected with COVID-19 to another. This occurs through close contact with an infected person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands or surfaces.

 What are the symptoms of someone infected with coronavirus?

Coronavirus patients may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.

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