Qantas Announces Job Cuts, New Planes and New Airline

Worrisome news from Australia's airlift scene today: USA Today and other sources are reporting that Qantas Airways is planning to cut up to 1,000 jobs as part of a major shakeup of its international business.

Qantas International has forecast a loss of $210 million for the 2011 financial year due to stiff competition and costs that the airline says are 20 percent higher than its key competitors such as Emirates.

On the more positive side, the flagship Australian carrier is also expected to buy between 106 and 110 Airbus A320 aircraft, and retire older planes as part of a five-year plan that will see a new Asia-based airline take shape (operating under a different name). It will also defer the delivery of six Airbus A380 super-jumbo planes for up to six years. The A380s were earmarked for long-haul routes to destinations such as London on which Qantas has faced increased competition.

The company will invest almost $400 million in new international lounges, new inflight entertainment and aircraft refurbishment. “Qantas will construct a new First Lounge and Business Lounge in Los Angeles, three times the size of the current space, as well as new First Lounges in Singapore and Hong Kong,” said CEO Alan Joyce in a statement.