Qantas will ground 150 mainly widebody planes as it slashes international capacity by about 90 per cent until the end of May.
The airline says that due to travel demand plunging, owing to the coronavirus outbreak, and new government restrictions around the world, Qantas and Jetstar will make further and much larger cuts to domestic and international flying schedules than those announced last week.
Like other airlines, Qantas is battling to survive this crisis in as strong a position as possible.
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Total group International capacity will be cut by around 90 per cent, this is up from a 23 per cent reduction for the fourth quarter of this financial year announced last week. This will affect transtasman services but details have not been finalised yet.
Total group domestic capacity will be cut by around 60 per cent until at least the end of May. This is a major shift from the 5 per cent reduction announced earlier and reflects a rapid decline in forward travel demand due to government containment measures, corporate travel bans and a general pullback from everyday activities across the community.
This represents the grounding of around 150 aircraft, including almost all of the group's widebody fleet. Qantas and Jetstar have about 250 planes.
The route-by-route detail of these changes across Qantas and Jetstar is currently being worked through and will be announced in coming days.
Qantas says despite the deep cuts, it has a critical role to be maintained in transporting people and goods on key international, domestic, routes.
This includes using some domestic passenger aircraft for freight-only flights to replace lost capacity from regular scheduled services. Qantas' fleet of freighters will continue to be fully utilised.
The airline says the "precipitous decline in demand" and resulting cuts to flying mean that the Qantas Group is confronted with a significant labour surplus across its operations.
''Travel demand is unlikely to rebound for weeks or possibly months and the impact of this will be felt across the entire workforce of 30,000 people.''
The airline was working to manage this impact as much as possible, including through the use of paid and unpaid leave. This will be in addition to measures already announced, including three months of no pay for chief executive Alan Joyce and significant pay cuts for group executive management and board members, and cancelling of annual bonuses and an off-market buy back.
Qantas and Jetstar have issued a wide-ranging booking waiver for customers wanting to suspend their travel plans.
Customers with existing bookings on any domestic or international flight until May 31, 2020, who no longer wish to travel, can cancel their flight and retain the value of the booking as a travel credit voucher. This needs to be processed by March 31.
Customers who make a new domestic or international booking and later decide they no longer wish to travel, can cancel their flight and retain the value of the booking as a Qantas travel credit or Jetstar travel voucher.
This applies to bookings made from March 10 until March 31 for travel before May 31 this year.
To access this offer, Qantas customers should visit Manage Booking on Qantas.com, select "Cancel" and then "Voucher". Jetstar customers should go to Manage My Booking on Jetstar.com.
If flights were booked through a travel agency or third-party website, customers will need to contact them directly to make changes to their booking.
The airline warns passengers not to call the contact centres as, due to high demand, they are experiencing long call-wait times.