Senior Qantas airline executives asked to work as baggage handlers to ease shortage

They will be expected to scan bags, load them into aircraft



By Web Desk

Published: Mon 8 Aug 2022, 4:07 PM

Last updated: Mon 8 Aug 2022, 4:15 PM

Australian airline Qantas has asked its senior staff to work as baggage handlers as it scrambles to manage a labour shortage.

According to CNN, at least 100 senior staff have been called upon to join the company's outsourced ground handling teams at Sydney and Melbourne airports for three months.

"The high levels of winter flu and a Covid spike across the community, coupled with the ongoing tight labor market, make resourcing a challenge across our industry," Colin Hughes, Qantas' chief operating officer, said in a note sent to staff on Monday.

The staff will be expected to sort and scan bags, load them into aircraft and drive them around the airport, among other responsibilities. Hughes mentioned in the note that these responsibilities will not be expected to be fulfilled over and above the senior executives normal responsibilities.

Executives opting into the role must also be "physically capable of moving and lifting bags of up to 32 kg (71 pounds) in weight," Hughes said.

"We've been clear that our operational performance has not been meeting our customers' expectations or the standards that we expect of ourselves — and that we've been pulling out all stops to improve our performance," a Qantas spokesperson told CNN Business.

The strong bounce back in travellers after two years of pandemic restrictions and staff cuts has left airlines and airports all over the world shortchanged.

Qantas said in June 2020 that it would slash 20% of its total workforce, or about 6,000 jobs — mostly affecting its corporate, ground and flight staff — as it tried to stay afloat during the height of the pandemic.

Hughes said in his note that the company planned to recruit thousands of new staff, including ground handlers.

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