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Australia's Qantas to cease international flights

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 19, 2020 - Duration: 01:47s

Australia's Qantas to cease international flights

Qantas Airways said on Thursday (March 19) it will halt all international flights from late March until at least the end of May, and is putting two-thirds of its workforce on leave after Australia told citizens not to travel overseas due to the coronavirus.

Libby Hogan reports.

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Australia's Qantas to cease international flights

Australia's top airline Qantas will halt all international flights due to the viral pandemic.

They're on hold from late March until at least the end of May.

The airline also said on Thursday (March 19) it would tell the majority of its 30,000 employees to take leave.

This comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned Australians to stop travelling overseas.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON SAYING: "We are upgrading the travel ban on Australians to level 4 for the entire world.

That is the first time that has ever happened in Australia's history.

The travel advice to every Australian is "Do not travel abroad".

Qantas says it will temporarily lay off about two thirds of its workforce with domestic services also affected, slashed by 60 percent.

To preserve as many jobs as possible over the longer term, it is telling staff to use their paid leave.

It's also offering options like leave at half pay and advance leave, though it said leave without pay was inevitable for some.

Qantas joins other airlines around the world that are reeling from the virus as several countries have closed off their borders to try to halt the epidemic.

The airline will delay the payment of its stock dividend, worth more than $100 million dollars - from April until September.

And senior executives will go without pay until at least the end of the financial year.

But it's better placed than others and said it could withstand six to 11 months of no flying before further cuts.

Whereas a trade group representing major US airlines - including American and Delta- say government help to the tune of $50 billion dollars is needed to avoid collapse.

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Related news from verified sources

Qantas' move comes as the airline industry is under immense pressure amid sweeping travel restrictions.
on March 18, 2020 • Sydney Morning Herald

Qantas has reduced its international flight capacity by almost a quarter for the next six months due to the coronavirus.
on March 9, 2020 • SBS

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