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Qantas may consider Queensland base if it quits Sydney to trim costs

Business

Qantas is considering moving and downsizing its offices and aviation facilities within Australia as part of continued efforts to cut costs amid the pandemic.

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The carrier is reviewing co-locating properties such as its head office in Sydney and Jetstar’s office in Melbourne, after laying off thousands of workers in recent months.

Qantas said it had no intentions to move the facilities offshore as a result of the review.

Flight simulator centres in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as heavy maintenance facilities in Brisbane, will be considered for relocation.

With Queensland potentially facing an all-or-nothing bidding war with other states, Treasurer Cameron Dick today said the Palaszczuk government would talk to Qantas.

The government recently put up funds to keep Virgin headquarters in Queensland but the talks will coincide with, and likely continue after, the October 31 election.

“Queensland is the reason there’s a ‘Q’ in Qantas,” Dick said.

“We’re more than happy to sit down with Qantas and talk about opportunities to support more jobs in Queensland.

“The Palaszczuk Government has built a strong relationship with Qantas to attract job-creating projects to Queensland, including the Qantas Group Pilot Academy at Toowoomba and the Qantas 787 Dreamliner base in Brisbane.

“We’ve made our long-term commitment to the aviation industry clear through the Queensland Aerospace 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan, and our Attracting Aviation Investment Fund.”

Qantas group chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson said: “Like most airlines, the ongoing impact of COVID means we’ll be a much smaller company for a while.

“We’re looking right across the organisation for efficiencies, including our $40 million annual spend on leased office space.”

About 8000 workers are leaving the airline, which has slashed overseas and domestic flights due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

The group in June sacked 6000 workers as part of a three-year plan to slash costs by $15 billion. About 2,400 ground crew were last month told their roles will likely be outsourced.

Qantas has invited state governments to offer incentives for the group to move.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told a media conference he spoke to Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce on Monday night.

“We think that we have a very attractive offer to make and we’ll work through that to try and have as many jobs as we possible in our city and state,” he said.

Andrews said Avalon Airport had plenty of space and Melbourne Airport was the largest flight-curfew-free one in the country.

Qantas said any property changes would not affect customers.

The property review is expected to take three months.

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