Qantas and low cost unit Jetstar will suspend overseas services from late March until at least the end of May 2020. Domestic operations will also be cut 60%. Some 150 planes will be grounded.
Drastic measures became inevitable for Qantas after the Australian government advised against any overseas travel and banned non essential mass gatherings. Airlines are struggling to cope as the coronavirus sweeps across the world and triggers travel bans.
Qantas and Jetstar will stand down the majority of their 30,000 employees until at least the end of May 2020.
Customer contact centres are currently experiencing long wait times from people seeking to change their travel plans as a result of the Coronavirus. To help manage the demand Qantas ask that customers only call if they have travel within the next 48 hours.
To avoid further inconvenience, Qantas is converting all bookings on cancelled flights to a travel credit, which can be used anywhere on their network. Affected customers will be contacted directly from next Monday.
Any customers travelling before the end of May who wish to change their booking are also eligible to receive a travel credit instead.
If flights were booked through a travel agency or third-party website (e.g. Webjet, Booking.com), customers will need to contact them directly to make changes to their booking.