Qantas And Jetstar Stand Down 20,000 Staff And Suspend International Flights
Qantas and Jetstar will suspend international flights leaving Australia until at least May due to the coronavirus.
The decision has caused the company to temporarily stand down two-thirds of its 30,000 staff.
Some flights will continue to operate until late March to enable Australians to return home.
A statement to the Australian Stock Exchange said: "As the national carrier, Qantas is in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government about continuation of some strategic links.
"Discussions are progressing with airports and government about parking for these aircraft.
"Essential domestic, regional and freight connections will be maintained as much as possible.
"Some domestic passenger aircraft will also be used for freight-only flights to replace lost capacity from regular scheduled services."
Qantas Group has revealed more than 150 planes have been temporarily grounded, including all of Qantas' A380s, 747s and B787-9s and Jetstar's B787-8s.
It follows the Australian government's Level Four Travel Ban, which advised people not to leave the country in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it's the first time in Australia's history that authorities have warned not to visit any country on the whole planet.
Visitors will still be allowed in, however they will have to self-isolate for a minimum of two weeks to ensure they don't pass on the virus.
Mr Morrison said: "The travel advice to every Australian is 'Do not travel abroad'. Do not go overseas. That is very clear, that instruction.
"For those who are thinking of going overseas in the school holidays, don't. Don't go overseas. The biggest risk we have had and the biggest incidents of cases we have had... has been from Australians returning from overseas.
"That is an indefinite ban but, as you are seeing from other countries around the world, they are putting similar restrictions on entry, just as Australia has on others coming into Australia and you would expect that to be in place now and that is the stage we have reached."
However, the advice for people who are overseas who want to return to Australia should do so as soon as possible.
The latest advice said: "You may not be able to return to Australia when you had planned to. Consider whether you have access to health care and support systems if you get sick while overseas.
"As more countries close their borders or introduce travel restrictions, overseas travel is becoming more complex and difficult.
"If you decide to return to Australia, do so as soon as possible. Commercial options may become less available."
Featured Image Credit: PA