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QF's COVID-19 minimal network schedule

Melburnian1

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With the 'hard' border closure between NSW/Vic (not sure if 'hard' is redundant), the number of flights between SYD and MEL is diminishing way below what was planned.

Tomorrow (Friday 10 July - during school holidays so one would usually expect it to be very busy, especially since it's the final weekend for one state's) there were to be 13 flights departing from Sydney for Melbourne across the three operators.

That number has already as of 1730 on Thursday 9 July been culled to seven.

Most of us cannot travel by any means to NSW if we're Victorian, and the same applies in reverse if I'm not mistaken.

It's surprising that there's sufficient passengers to 'fill' half a dozen flights. However the fracas yesterday over a Jetstar flight that landed in Sydney and saw 48 passengers 'escape' from the airport without being checked by NSW Health revealed that there were 137 patrons in total, which was nowhere near full and below what in 'normal times' one could expect most MEL-SYD flights, on average, to have as typical passenger loadings are c.85-90 per cent (some offpeak flights are uncrowded while the reverse is true for most flights during morning/afternoon weekday peaks).
 

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With the 'hard' border closure between NSW/Vic (not sure if 'hard' is redundant), the number of flights between SYD and MEL is diminishing way below what was planned.

Tomorrow (Friday 10 July - during school holidays so one would usually expect it to be very busy, especially since it's the final weekend for one state's) there were to be 13 flights departing from Sydney for Melbourne across the three operators.

That number has already as of 1730 on Thursday 9 July been culled to seven.

Most of us cannot travel by any means to NSW if we're Victorian, and the same applies in reverse if I'm not mistaken.

It's surprising that there's sufficient passengers to 'fill' half a dozen flights. However the fracas yesterday over a Jetstar flight that landed in Sydney and saw 48 passengers 'escape' from the airport without being checked by NSW Health revealed that there were 137 patrons in total, which was nowhere near full and below what in 'normal times' one could expect most MEL-SYD flights, on average, to have as typical passenger loadings are c.85-90 per cent (some offpeak flights are uncrowded while the reverse is true for most flights during morning/afternoon weekday peaks).
NSW can go to VIC. You just have to quarantine on return.

I assume most of the pax at the moment, for SYD-MEL are Victorians going home, or for MEL-SYD, other states going home. Like the international flights in Mar, these will start to dry up once people have returned home and it will probably revert to a single daily service for essential travellers. (Which is why I'm surprised they left twice weekly MEL-NTL flights).
 

Melburnian1

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You are simply watching the airlines go broke....
Especially, jb747, if the extensive claims of AFFer RAM re the QF accounts are correct.

To analyse some of these suggestions, one would need to be an accountant to verify, noting there have been substantial changes to some key Australian accounting 'standards' in recent times.

I am optimistic that humans need to meet with each other to finalise or sometimes negotiate 'deals', and by all reports, Zoom and WebEx are unsatisfactory for observing nuances - the raised eyebrow, the cheeky grin off camera -, but many private sector companies will want to cut costs and some functions can now occur remotely. Unlikely that domestic air travel will return to the numbers previously.

I don't agree with justinbrett that there'll just be 'one return' SYD - MEL - SYD flight a day (per operator) as the numbers of 'emergency services/government' staff moving around may be higher than that, plus those approved on compassionate grounds. So I reckon QF will continue to have more than two flights each way on this normally busy route, except maybe on low demand Saturdays. AFL teams, temporarily, don't have to fly around on VAd either.
 

justinbrett

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I don't agree with justinbrett that there'll just be 'one return' SYD - MEL - SYD flight a day (per operator) as the numbers of 'emergency services/government' staff moving around may be higher than that, plus those approved on compassionate grounds. So I reckon QF will continue to have more than two flights each way on this normally busy route, except maybe on low demand Saturdays. AFL teams, temporarily, don't have to fly around on VAd either.
Why would it be higher than last time? (It was daily last time).

Last time there was free travel between NSW & VIC. It's heavily restricted now. If anything, it should be less this time.
 
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Melburnian1

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This story is in 'SMH'/ 'The Age' on Saturday 11 July 2020 regarding QF flight crew:

(this is part):

(bear in mind that Victoria's Premier has threatened to extend the six week - 42 day - lockdown that commenced this week.

How can businesses like airlines - and many others - plan when it's such an uncertain external environment?)

--------------

'Qantas has offered its 3000 excess pilots a smorgasbord of options including redundancies and early retirement as it scrambles to deal with a setback in the resumption of domestic flights and the likely extended duration of the hiatus in international flying.

Qantas’ expectation to be operating at 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels this month was dashed this week when NSW effectively closed its gates to Victoria, and Friday’s updated new infection figure in that state of 288 only increases the likelihood that the two-week border closure will be extended
This creates an even larger headache for Qantas...

Qantas has offered a range of options to its pilots.

The staff reductions form a major leg of the airline’s $15 billion 'right sizing' cost reduction program. Qantas has now written to its pilots offering options ranging from early retirement to leave without pay, special leave without pay or voluntary redundancy. Those that don’t tick any of those boxes will remain in stand-down mode.

However, in recognition that it could be more than a year before long haul international flying resumes, the voluntary redundancy package is on offer only to those pilots.

The voluntary redundancies packages scale up relative to length of service ranging from those with 15 years or more receiving nine months pay and three months in lieu of service (plus holidays and long service) to those employed less than five years set to receive three months' base salary and three months' payment in lieu of service plus holidays and long service.

But Qantas retains the discretion to accept or reject any applications.

Additionally, the company is making no guarantees that it will not move to compulsory redundancies. The extent to which this will be necessary depends on the number who choose redundancy.

The airline is also offering all pilots the choice of leave without pay for a period of more than 12 months. But there are no guarantees that during that period they will not be made compulsorily redundant.

Those that take the special leave without pay option pilots will continue to accrue entitlements but they will need to exhaust all holiday and long service before signing up.

The pilot package will serve to quarantine the airline from the ongoing employee costs after Jobkeeper assistance runs out - an event which although scheduled for September may be extended for the hardest-hit sectors such as aviation and hospitality...'
 

Melburnian1

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Why would it be higher than last time? (It was daily last time).

Last time there was free travel between NSW & VIC. It's heavily restricted now. If anything, it should be less this time.
Your suggestion is logical, but on Saturday 11 July 2020, three QFd 'own metal' MEL to SYD flights operated at departure times of 0700, 1200 'high noon' and 1430. Note the very early conclusion to Saturday's QFd flights on its most popular route.

Goodness knows how QF fills them as few Victorians are eligible to travel, and those from other states have been encouraged 'not to travel to Melbourne', as if returning they typically have to quarantine for a fortnight. It's not just esteemed Twin Cities resident jb747 who's finding it difficult (or impossible) to travel!

Across all airlines, there were just 12 domestic flights (total of all Oz routes) today ex MEL airport today. Who would have predicted this a year ago?

Tomolrrow (Sunday 12 July), QFd has four MEL - SYD domestic flights scheduled. From memory during school holidays one might have previously (pre COVID-19) have seen about 35 QFd MEL - SYD flights northbound on a Sunday, so the timetable tomorrow has around 10 per cent of the normal number of flights (though depending as to whether flights are B738s or A333s, the seat capacity may be slightly different from that estimate).
 
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justinbrett

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Your suggestion is logical, but on Saturday 11 July 2020, three QFd 'own metal' MEL to SYD flights operated at departure times of 0700, 1200 'high noon' and 1430.

Goodness knows how QF fills them as few Victorians are eligible to travel, and those from other states have been encouraged 'not to travel to Melbourne', as if returning they typically have to quarantine for a fortnight.

Across all airlines, there were just 12 domestic flights (total of all Oz routes) today.
It takes time to stop a ship. The NSW border was only closed a few days ago. If the cases continue to mount in VIC (as they almost certainly will) demand for travel to MEL will continue to plummet.
 

Melburnian1

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This story is in 'SMH'/ 'The Age' on Saturday 11 July 2020 regarding QF flight crew:

(this is part):

(bear in mind that Victoria's Premier has threatened to extend the six week - 42 day - lockdown that commenced this week.

How can businesses like airlines - and many others - plan when it's such an uncertain external environment?)

--------------

'Qantas has offered its 3000 excess pilots a smorgasbord of options including redundancies and early retirement as it scrambles to deal with a setback in the resumption of domestic flights and the likely extended duration of the hiatus in international flying.

Qantas’ expectation to be operating at 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels this month was dashed this week when NSW effectively closed its gates to Victoria, and Friday’s updated new infection figure in that state of 288 only increases the likelihood that the two-week border closure will be extended
This creates an even larger headache for Qantas...

Qantas has offered a range of options to its pilots.

The staff reductions form a major leg of the airline’s $15 billion 'right sizing' cost reduction program. Qantas has now written to its pilots offering options ranging from early retirement to leave without pay, special leave without pay or voluntary redundancy. Those that don’t tick any of those boxes will remain in stand-down mode.

However, in recognition that it could be more than a year before long haul international flying resumes, the voluntary redundancy package is on offer only to those pilots.

The voluntary redundancies packages scale up relative to length of service ranging from those with 15 years or more receiving nine months pay and three months in lieu of service (plus holidays and long service) to those employed less than five years set to receive three months' base salary and three months' payment in lieu of service plus holidays and long service.

But Qantas retains the discretion to accept or reject any applications.

Additionally, the company is making no guarantees that it will not move to compulsory redundancies. The extent to which this will be necessary depends on the number who choose redundancy.

The airline is also offering all pilots the choice of leave without pay for a period of more than 12 months. But there are no guarantees that during that period they will not be made compulsorily redundant.

Those that take the special leave without pay option pilots will continue to accrue entitlements but they will need to exhaust all holiday and long service before signing up.

The pilot package will serve to quarantine the airline from the ongoing employee costs after Jobkeeper assistance runs out - an event which although scheduled for September may be extended for the hardest-hit sectors such as aviation and hospitality...'
With today's uncertainty - vaccine-less, 'second waves' and pressure on governmental budgets so assistance may not continue 'for ever' even to various sectors hit hardest by coronavirus - is the take-up rate for voluntary redundancies in a subsector like airline operators likely to be so high as to 'swamp' the company offer, or will many hold back, use up their annual leave and if they have any, their long service leave, hoping that they'll be retained?

I vaguely recall in one round of public sector redundancies in Victoria, 20-25 years ago, employees could not wait to get outside the door so to speak. But economic times were somewhat better than at the moment.

The article above talks of a two-week border closure but for Melbourne residents, it's a six week lockdown.
 
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albatross710

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When I heard about empty Jetstart flights Melbourne to Maroochydore I thought that we are fooling ourselves a bit. What's the use of operating these services if there are zero pax. I know there might be freight and pax on the return service BUT BNE is not that far away and a viable bus service can operate to increase load on the main line.
 

Melburnian1

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When I heard about empty Jetstart flights Melbourne to Maroochydore I thought that we are fooling ourselves a bit. What's the use of operating these services if there are zero pax. I know there might be freight and pax on the return service BUT BNE is not that far away and a viable bus service can operate to increase load on the main line.
Are these flights an opportunity for Jetstar to ensure more of its flight crew are 'current' (in the sense of having operated a flight within the last six months or whatever CASA mandates as the requirement?)
 

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Are these flights an opportunity for Jetstar to ensure more of its flight crew are 'current' (in the sense of having operated a flight within the last six months or whatever CASA mandates as the requirement?)
As well as the maintaining currency issue for Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar pilots the state border closures may also eventually cause problems for simulator training as I guess Qantas and Jetstar would have pilot bases in several different states but simulators not in all states. Not to mention the issue and consequences on the seniority rosters of removal of whole fleets and pilot groups out of the airline system in Australia I.e. A380, B747, B777, B788, A330, A320 & ATR types

With all airlines going broke and/or standing down pilots I would think that the only pilots thinking of accepting voluntary redundancies would be those already close to the end of their careers.

A year ago the industry was looking at a massive worldwide shortage of pilots, now and in the immediate future there will be a surplus of pilots.
 

Melburnian1

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...A year ago the industry was looking at a massive worldwide shortage of pilots, now and in the immediate future there will be a surplus of pilots.
As you suggest, the surplus may not be forever provided that the sector eventually starts to grow again.

That said, what does a potentially large surplus of flight crews (pretty much worldwide) mean for the much heralded QF training academies in Oz?

Who would pay big dollars to become a pilot if it became extremely hard to obtain a position?
 

albatross710

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Are these flights an opportunity for Jetstar to ensure more of its flight crew are 'current' (in the sense of having operated a flight within the last six months or whatever CASA mandates as the requirement?)
seems an expensive way to maintain currency. how about they drive to Mascot and do some circuits. or setup a pilot training bubble at Avalon.

I just dont see the point in flying empty aircraft around the country fooling ourselves that everything is "OK"
 

Melburnian1

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seems an expensive way to maintain currency. how about they drive to Mascot and do some circuits. or setup a pilot training bubble at Avalon.

I just dont see the point in flying empty aircraft around the country fooling ourselves that everything is "OK"
Fair enough, but the Federal Government is subsidising many flights, so maybe this was one of those.
 

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seems an expensive way to maintain currency. how about they drive to Mascot and do some circuits. or setup a pilot training bubble at Avalon.

I just dont see the point in flying empty aircraft around the country fooling ourselves that everything is "OK"

Do planes need to actually fly to maintain currency? If so the flight could serve a dual purpose, pilot and plane flying hours.
 

justinbrett

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Do planes need to actually fly to maintain currency? If so the flight could serve a dual purpose, pilot and plane flying hours.
No such thing as currency for aircraft. Not flying aircraft has maintenance consequences (and possibly check flights), but you don't fly an aircraft just to avoid that.
 

Melburnian1

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This was on the 'SMH' and 'The Age' sites from late afternoon on Thursday 16 July and is an update on an earlier story (see above) that was in 'The Australian' a day or three ago:

Qantas asks pilots to go without leave to avoid forced redundancies

'Qantas pilots who agree to go on unpaid leave and not earn holiday entitlements for more than a year will be spared from forced redundancies.

The plan means Qantas is much less likely to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic with the risk of its long haul international pilots taking holidays just as the company's planes get back in the air.

It's an example of one way companies are trying to manage the build up of annual leave, which a national small business organisation has warned could put businesses under as their costs rack up even while workers are stood-down during the coronavirus pandemic.

Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, said the expense of leave entitlements was "really going to hit home" for small businesses that had stood their staff down on JobKeeper during the pandemic.

Mr Strong said the leave entitlements earned by 10 employees on JobKeeper for six months could total $40,000. "If you know you’re not going to open again, or only with three staff, just remember you’re going to have a big payout, bigger than you had before," Mr Strong warned struggling businesses.

Qantas though has a different scheme. Long haul pilots who typically ferry Australians to destinations like Europe for Qantas, have been given the option to take leave without pay for more than 12 months. It means that unlike workers who still earn leave at the usual rate while they are stood down, the pilots' leave balance will not gradually go up. In return, they will receive a guarantee they will not face a compulsory redundancy. If pilots do not take that carrot, then they can accrue leave but face the risk of losing their job as Qantas reduces its workforce. Either way, the pilots are still eligible for JobKeeper...'
 

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