In a bid to re-fill thousands of jobs cut during the pandemic, airline Qantas (ASX: QAN) has announced a hiring blitz that will see more than 2,000 new roles created over the next 18 months.
The move is part of a larger plan to bolster the airline’s headcount by 8,500 over the next decade, the majority of which will be cabin crew (4,500), while pilots and airport staff will each fill 1,600 roles and engineers 800.
Over the last three years, the airline has sacked about 9,400 staff, with the biggest round of redundancies announced only three months after Australia closed its borders in March 2020.
Not long after, Qantas put another 2,500 workers on the chopping block - opting to outsource baggage handlers, aircraft cleaning and ground transport jobs in order to save $100 million.
The decision led to a legal fight with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), which is now contesting Qantas’ bids to overturn a federal court ruling that it illegally outsourced 1,700 ground handlers’ jobs.
Since the pandemic struck, roughly 9,400 people have left Qantas - a figure that was increased from a prior estimate of 8,500 after including offshore job losses at airports and sales offices, some automation and an increase in voluntary redundancies.
The new hiring campaign comes just one week after the airline returned to profit for the first time in three years, generating $1 billion in statutory profit after tax for the first half.
Qantas’ staffing levels are expected to exceed pre-pandemic numbers, with 32,000 people projected to work for the group by 2033.
“In the near term, we’re gearing up to meet the growth in all of the markets we serve. We have more aircraft arriving every month, and that means we need more pilots, engineers, cabin crew and others,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
“Over the next 18 months, we expect to create more than 2,000 new jobs plus replacing natural attrition, so if you’ve ever wanted to work in aviation or at the national carrier, now’s a great time to join.
“We order aircraft up to 10 years in advance, so we need to think similarly long-term about the people and skills we need to operate them. Over that period of time, we’ll create an estimated 8,500 new aviation jobs in Australia, and most of those jobs require years of training.”
In conjunction with this announcement, Qantas has announced plans to establish a new engineering academy that will train up to 300 aviation engineers to serve either the group, defence contractors or the general aviation industry.
Qantas said it will need around 200 recruits every year in order to meet growth targets.
“Qantas will make a multi-million investment to establish the Engineering Academy, which is expected to open its doors to the first students in 2025,” the group said in a statement today
“Similar to the Qantas Group Pilot Academy that opened in early 2020, Qantas expects to collaborate with registered training providers for the Engineering Academy.
“A decision on the location for the academy will be made as part of the final design, expected to be determined by the end of 2023.”
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