25 Mar 2009

Qantas to axe more management jobs

8:28 pm on 25 March 2009

Qantas Airways Limited has embarked on a second wave of redundancies, axing 20% of its top management and maintaining a pay freeze for executives as it battles the global economic crisis.

Qantas said on Wednesday the decision to cut 90 senior management positions was part of a review of the Australian airline's organisational structure aimed at ensuring it was equipped to respond to the commercial challenges presented by the global downturn.

The cut of 90 senior executive jobs, expected to save the airline about $A24 million a year, come on top of the 1,500 job cuts announced in July last year.

Qantas said the remaining managers are being asked to take on new tasks and that the salary freeze for senior managers instigated last July will continue.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said on Wednesday the aviation sector faced considerable commercial challenges for the foreseeable future.

"Qantas must respond decisively to what is happening, and our response must begin with those of us who lead the company," Mr Joyce said, who took over as from Geoff Dixon in November after five years in charge of its offshoot Jetstar.

However, he said Qantas was taking "great care" to retain the ability to deliver world class customer service and ensure safety is not compromised.

In February, Qantas reported a 66% drop in first half net profit to $A210 million after it was hit by higher fuel costs and a drop in demand as business and leisure travellers cut back on flying.

The latest Qantas job cuts follow Virgin Blue's announcement last month that 400 positions would be lost when it axed five aircraft from its domestic fleet.

On Tuesday, the International Air Transport Association predicted that world airlines would lose $US4.7 billion this year due to the economic crisis and revenues would drop by more than after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The aviation association said the revised loss estimate, nearly double the previous forecast issued in December, reflected the rapid deterioration of global economic conditions.