Qantas asks managers and executives to manage baggage in case of staff shortages


Qantas executives and managers will leave their usual roles to become ground handling agents. Photo / 123rf

Senior executives and managers at Qantas will leave their usual roles to step in as ground handlers, as the airline continues to suffer from major staff shortages.

The reshuffle is part of an extraordinary emergency program that is expected to last three months and help the airline get back on its feet ahead of the busy summer vacation period.

While the airline has rehired nearly 2,000 employees after laying off around 1,700 ground handlers during the pandemic, it has struggled to stay on top of baggage, flight delays and cancellations.

Chief operating officer Colin Hughes told staff that during the contingency program they would be an “embedded resource within the ground handling partners”, reports The Australian.

“This means you will be given a roster, scheduled to operate, and supervised and managed in live operations by our ground support partners.”

Staff participating in the program would be required to sort and scan bags, and drive airport tugs to transport luggage on planes and between terminals.

“It is our company’s sole purpose to help our teams get our operations back to where they should be and to provide our passengers with the experience they expect from the airline,” Mr Hughes said in a statement. his memo to the staff.

A Qantas spokesperson said the measures were introduced due to staff shortages caused by flu and Covid, as well as the tight labor market.

“We have made it clear that our operational performance does not meet our customers’ expectations or the standards we expect of ourselves – and that we have made every effort to improve our performance,” they told .to. .

“As we have done in the past during peak periods, approximately 200 head office employees have been assisting at airports during peak periods since Easter.

“As we manage the impacts of a record flu season and ongoing Covid cases coupled with the tightest labor market in decades, we are continuing this contingency planning in our airport operations for the next three months.”

Qantas filed an appeal in the High Court after the Federal Court found it breached the Fair Work Act for laying off nearly 2,000 employees during the pandemic.

It has yet to fully staff its operations since resuming domestic and international travel after the Covid shutdown period.

Qantas’ reputation has taken a huge hit in recent months, with irate customers complaining of delayed and canceled flights, missing luggage and extreme wait times for customer service.

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