Australia's Qantas refuses to rule out job cuts

The airline has said that its international business is underperforming
© AFP/File Greg Wood
SYDNEY (AFP) - Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce refused on Sunday to rule out cutting jobs at the Australian airline as part of a restructure to improve its international business and capture Asian growth.

Qantas, which is facing possible strike action from some employees including pilots, has already said that its international business is underperforming and can no longer be sustained by the airline's more profitable assets.

Joyce said the company strategy to be unveiled on August 24 would look at the carrier's investments and partnerships as well as how the airline can capitalise on the growing Asian market.

But it would also cast "an honest and fairly aggressive view on the performance of the international network and making cuts where we need to make them and it's important for us to do that."

Joyce said Qantas had not made any pilots redundant during the global financial crisis, but had asked them to take annual leave to help cope with the slowdown.

"We have had a surplus of pilots for some time," he added.

Asked whether there would be job losses, Joyce said all would be clear after the review which comes after Qantas said in June it will achieve its best result since the global financial crisis in 2011 with underlying profit before tax expected of at least Aus$500 million (US$537 million).

"I think what we have to do is go through this review and wait till August 24 and then we'll be very clear on what the implications of that review are and then we can bring certainty to the market, to our employees, to our customers about what Qantas is going to do into the future," he said.

Joyce said Qantas had not increased ticket prices after authorities grounded rival carrier Tiger Airways Australia until at least August 1 due to "serious and imminent" safety risks but had picked up about 10,000 of its passengers.

He said it did not think budget carrier Tiger, an Australian offshoot of the Singapore brand of the same name which holds about five percent of the domestic market here, would go under.

Tiger, has vowed to take all necessary steps to return to the skies and says it has a bright future.

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