DALLAS – Qantas (QF) has appealed to its senior executives to swap their boardrooms for baggage halls to work as baggage handlers for three months to tackle an acute labour shortage.
The airline hopes to recruit at least 100 volunteers to work in these temporary roles for three or five days per week, either four or six hours per day. They will be based at Sydney (SYD) or Melbourne (MEL) airports.
Any applicant must be capable of lifting suitcases weighing up to 32kg. As well as loading and unloading baggage and scanning tags, applicants will have to drive vehicles around airports to move the luggage to where it needs to go.
Chief Operating Officer Colin Hughes wrote to all high-level staff stating that there was ‘no expectation that you will opt into this role on top of your full-time position.’ He added that the move was necessary to ease the growing criticism of how Qantas has dealt with passenger resurgence since travel restrictions have eased.
Hughes said that it was ‘the singular company focus to support our teams to get our operation back to where it should be and provide our passengers with the experience they expect from the airline.’
Qantas has blamed high levels of winter flu and a spike in Covid cases across the country, along with unprecedented labour shortages, for the move.
However, the airline came under fire when in November 2020, it laid off 2,000 ground staff before outsourcing these roles in an attempt to limit its financial losses. The Transport Workers Union subsequently took the airline to the Federal Court, which ruled in favour of the Union. Qantas is now appealing the decision in the High Court.
Featured Image: Qantas Airbus A380-800 (VH-OQA). Photo: Tony Bordelais/Airways.