Qantas will slash international flights by 90 per cent in a fresh suite of cuts equivalent to grounding 150 aircraft.
Both Qantas and Jetstar on Tuesday announced further and much larger cuts to domestic and international flying schedules as coronavirus travel bans intensify.
The national carrier’s total international capacity will now be cut by 90 per cent from the end of March to at least the end of May, up from a 23 per cent fourth quarter reduction announced last week.
Domestic capacity will be cut by 60 per cent until at least the end of May – up from 5.0 per cent.
Qantas said its decision reflected the rapid decline in travel demand due to government containment measures, corporate travel bans, and a general pullback from everyday activities across the community.
International travellers are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, a development at the weekend that Qantas said would have a major impact on domestic and international demand.
Qantas’ previously announced flight cuts in place from the end of May to mid-September remain in place.
They are likely to be increased, depending on demand, which it expects to be subdued for “weeks or possibly months”.
Qantas also flagged that the “precipitous decline” in demand and resulting cuts meant it was confronted with a significant labour surplus.
The company said it was working to manage the impact on its 30,000 workforce as much as possible, including through the use of paid and unpaid leave.