Qantas extend flights cancellations

Qantas has extended the suspension of its domestic and trans-Tasman flights until the end of June and for international flights until the end of July as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In late March, the Australian carrier announced it would suspend all international flights until the end of May and stand down two-thirds of its 30,000-member workforce.

The stand down of employees has now also been extended until at least the end of June because of the downturn.

In an announcement to the ASX, Qantas said it had secured further debt funding of $550 million that should support the airline through to the end of 2021 if the coronavirus crisis continued.

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Qantas planes are being parked at airports around Australia until flights resume. Photo: iStockSource:istock

Currently, the airline has just 5 per cent of domestic flights in the air, and 1 per cent of pre-pandemic international routes in service.

In a statement, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce expects recovery for the airline to take “years”.

“With the possible exception of New Zealand, international travel demand could take years to return to what it was,” he said.

Mr Joyce said he hoped the flattening of the curve, and the National Cabinet meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern could mean flights make a return across the ditch earlier than expected.

“Australia has done an amazing job of flattening the curve and we’re optimistic that domestic travel will start returning earlier than first thought,” he said.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said it will take years for the airline to get back to 2019 figures. Picture: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“But we clearly won’t be back to pre-coronavirus levels anytime soon. With the possible exception of New Zealand, international travel demand could take years to return to what it was.”

In April, rival airline Virgin Australia announced it had appointed accounting firm Deloitte as administrators to help it restructure amid a debt pile of $5 billion and a collapsed cash flow due to the coronavirus crisis.

About 16,000 jobs have been left in limbo, however administrators say there are no plans for redundancies.

The airline made the decision after the Federal Government refused a $1.4 billion bailout to help the airline survive the pandemic.

Virgin Australia is 90 per cent owned by foreign shareholders: Etihad and Singapore Airlines, Chinese conglomerates HNA and Nanshan Group, and the Virgin Group.

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