The multimillion-dollar bonuses are to be handed out Qantas Executives have sparked outrage after the airline raked in $2 billion in taxpayer money and illegally laid off thousands of workers during the pandemic.
The airline is struggling with mass flight cancellations, lengthy customer delays and misplaced luggage issues that have thrown travelers into chaos months after borders reopened.
QantasLink topped the list of canceled flights in April this year with 591, closely followed by Qantas with 426, data from the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics shows.
May was even higher with one in 13 Qantas flights canceled, or 7.6 percent of the airline’s total flights, up from 5.1 percent the previous month.
But in a statement to the ASX in June, Qantas said four senior executives would receive a combined total of more than $4 million in company stock in addition to their salary.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (pictured) acknowledged delays and flight cancellations over Easter and the June-July bank holiday were “not the airline’s finest hour”.
Qantas topped all Australian airlines’ list of canceled flights in April and May (pictured: a passenger at Sydney Airport)
Qantas CFO Vanessa Hudson is eligible for $1.15 million in stock, Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans is $1.22 million, Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David is $1 $.15 million and Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth will receive $985,000 in stock.
The bonuses will be paid in August 2023 if executives meet performance targets, although Mr Evans has since resigned.
The federal secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers’ Association, Steve Purvinas, slammed the payments.
“From an engineer’s point of view, it’s absolutely disgusting that people are getting lottery-win bonuses and we’re being labeled greedy because we want a raise when we haven’t had one in four years,” Mr Purvinas said Daily Telegraph.
“How can they consider paying bonuses given the loss of flight baggage and other shortcomings?”
Qantas Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Hudson will receive more than $1 million in stock if she meets performance targets (pictured)
Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine echoed the statement, saying the bonuses would “put salt in the wounds of laid-off workers”.
“The school and Easter holidays were completely ruined by Qantas’ decision to illegally lay off 2,000 workers,” he said 9News.
“The man who made that decision just received a $1.1 million bonus in stock from Alan Joyce.”
Some non-executive Qantas employees will also be offered a bonus of 1,000 Qantas shares, worth approximately $5,000, if they meet the criteria and still have a job with the airline.
At the start of the pandemic, Qantas laid off more than 10,000 employees, followed by another round of more than 2,500 in August 2021.
The company also accepted $2 billion in taxpayer money in the form of Covid stimulus payments.
In May, Qantas lost an appeal against a federal court ruling that outsourcing 2,000 ground crew duties was illegal, although the company intends to appeal.
The court ruled that the airline breached the Fair Work Act by laying off staff during the Covid crisis in favor of a cheaper alternative from companies like Swissport.
Jetstar boss Gareth Evans (left) and loyalty program CEO Olivia Wirth (right) were offered performance bonuses
“Many of the older men with over 30 years of experience had no idea how to even apply for a job online. So it affected the older boys,” a Today Show staffer said.
“They have a skilled workforce that has just been completely laid off,” he said.
“Bags that lie in the rooms for weeks, waiting to be picked up. Planes have been damaged.
“They’re contractors, they’re not even employed by Qantas. They don’t even get staff trips.
“There is no incentive to want to stay there. You can’t just learn 30 years of experience with a 20 minute safety or security online course.’
The airline has hired around 1,000 new employees since Easter, mainly in customer service.
Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine echoed the statement, saying the bonuses would “put salt in the wounds of laid-off workers”. Pictured: Huge queue at Sydney Airport on December 18, 2020
A Qantas spokesman defended the size of executive bonuses.
“These are outrageous statements by unions and totally ignore the fact that we intend to reward the contribution of all Qantas and Jetstar employees if the group successfully conducts its Covid recovery program,” they said.
“These unions know that we have paid more than $300 million in awards to our frontline workers since 2015.”
Mr Joyce addressed staff shortages and passenger disruption during an interview with 2GB radio host Ben Fordham, in which he admitted the company had failed over the Easter long weekend but was back to pre-Covid operating levels.
Qantas is struggling with mass flight cancellations, lengthy customer delays and misplaced luggage issues that wreak havoc on travelers months after borders reopened. Pictured: Hobart Airport
“It’s booming at the moment but we’ve had people locked away for two years and now people want to travel. Domestic levels are back to pre-Covid levels or above,” he said.
“Before Covid everything was perfectly balanced, it ran smoothly. What we saw over Easter wasn’t the aviation industry’s finest hour. Parts of the system didn’t work so well, we saw the queues at the airport, higher sick leave and sometimes up to 50 percent sick leave.
“There has been a big improvement and we now think the call centers are fixed and better than before Covid.”