Senior Qantas executives could swap their top jobs to work as ground handlers as part of a plan to tackle labor shortages.
The embattled airline’s chief operating officer, Colin Hughes, told staff in an internal memo that they were seeking expressions of interest for an emergency program over a three-month period.
“People who meet the EOI will be trained and enrolled in the ramp environment at Sydney and Melbourne airports,” Mr Hughes wrote.
“These people will support our ground handling partners, who run the Qantas operation, over a three-month period from mid-August.”
At least 100 executives will be recruited to sort and scan bags and carry luggage. Mr Hughes added, “there is no expectation that you will take on this role in addition to your full-time position”.
It comes after at least 1,600 baggage handlers were made redundant during the lockdown, with the service outsourced to contractors, a move the Federal Court ruled illegal.
Qantas had previously promised to appeal the decision.
The once-loved airline recently apologized after a litany of complaints from frustrated passengers who have suffered delayed and canceled flights, long queues at airports and lost luggage in recent months.
The airline hopes to fix the problems by scheduling fewer flights next month and hiring more staff.
Qantas Domestic and International Managing Director Andrew David acknowledged the airline has been plagued by issues that have let customers down in recent months as the airline recovers from the COVID-19 lockdown period. 19.
A Qantas spokesperson said the airline was committed to improving its services.
“We have made it clear that our operational performance did not meet our customers’ expectations or the standards we expect of ourselves – and that we have made every effort to improve our performance,” they said in a statement.
“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 associated with the tightest labor market in decades, we are continuing this contingency planning across all of our airport operations for the next three months. ”