Nearly 20,000 Qantas employees will receive a $5,000 “one-time boost” as airlines share the spoils of the pandemic recovery.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce announced the handouts on Friday.
“It’s been a rough few years for everyone in aviation, but we’ve pledged to share the benefits of the recovery once it arrives,” he said.
“Today, we are announcing a one-time payment that recognizes our people’s sacrifices, including long periods of no work and no annual pay increases. It also acknowledges their great job in restarting the airline, which has been a challenge for everyone.
“This comes when the travel demand is picking up again, but our people are facing a unique set of living costs, which they would be better off handling if aviation hadn’t been hit so hard in the past two years. Year. That is now changing.”
The one-time payment comes in addition to the permanent 2 percent pay increases negotiated in Qantas after a two-year pay freeze. Joyce said the airline “cannot afford to raise salaries permanently” above the 2 percent offer.
The recovery boost will be given after the inter-company negotiations are completed. It is not open to management and senior executives.
It also includes shares worth approximately $4,500 awarded to non-executive employees as part of a recovery and retention program announced in 2022.
“Getting our ongoing cost base right allows us to reinvest, which ultimately means more opportunities for our people,” said Mr. Joyce.
“The structure of our company means that many of our people see their salaries rise significantly as their careers progress. That progress often depends on company growth, so the recent investments we announced in new aircraft and ventures will ensure that employees benefit as the flag carrier enters a new phase.”
The Qantas Group has announced cumulative losses of about $6 billion since the start of the pandemic. It expects to record another “significant annual loss” this fiscal year, although there has been a major improvement in the second half of the year as travel demand picks up.
There were queues at Melbourne Airport again on Friday
That rebound was again evident at Melbourne and Brisbane airports on Friday, with a new influx of passengers ahead of the July school holidays.
Travelers were warned of long queues, delayed flights, and lost luggage as airports continued to adapt to strong demand and rebuild their decimated workforces after thousands were laid off due to a lack of flights.
“Our forecast shows that school holidays in July will be even busier than what we saw in April,” said Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert.
“It’s great to see the continued demand for air travel. But we will not ignore that the terminals will be busy during the school holidays, and there will be queues.”
Sydney Airport forecasts more than two million passengers between June 24 and July 17, with 1.5 million expected to take domestic flights.
The airport said that total passenger traffic recovered to 69 percent of pre-COVID levels.
Melbourne Airport also expects similar numbers, with more than 2.1 million people expected to pass through the terminals.
“The root cause of these challenges is that every airport company is rebuilding its workforce in the tightest job market in nearly half a century,” said Mr. Culbert.
Qantas has suffered the most from traveler anger on social media, reporting missing and delayed flights.
On Thursday, the airline said it was “pulling out all the stops and working with airports and suppliers to ensure the upcoming holiday season is not affected by the significant disruptions customers face over Easter”.
With budget subsidiary Jetstar, it has recruited over 1,000 operational team members with 20 percent more staff on standby rosters than during Easter.