In a week when Qantas launched its online auction – offering bidders prizes such as a spin in a Boeing 787 simulator with one of the airline’s most experienced captains – the Australian carrier has laid off 2,500 frontline workers.
The not-so-lucky ones to be stood down for at least two months were victims, Qantas said, of the drop in its operations caused by lockdowns across the country, but most especially in Sydney.
The decision to cut staff will directly impact Qantas and Jetstar domestic pilots, cabin crew and airport workers. Qantas stressed that no permanent job losses were expected.
“Qantas and Jetstar have gone from operating almost 100% of their usual domestic flying in May to less than 40% in July because of lockdowns in three states,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
“Based on current [pandemic] case numbers, it’s reasonable to assume that Sydney’s borders will be closed for at least another two months,” Joyce added.
While some Qantas staff prepare for a lengthy lockdown at home, Qantas frequent fliers can check in the carrier’s online auction house, offering members exclusive items to bid on using Qantas points.
Items to be auctioned include private charter flights; a luxury holiday for four to Queenstown in New Zealand and two ‘pre-loved’ Qantas A380 Business class Skybeds to keep in the lounge room.
“Points Auction gives members the chance to bid on special experiences and we expect these items to create a points-bidding frenzy,” said Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.
Based on the success of the first Points Auction, Qantas Frequent Flyer will look at sourcing more unique items exclusive to its members to be auctioned off throughout the year.