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Qantas confirms 'surplus' pilot numbers

Qantas is cutting pilot numbers for the first time in 40 years.

Qantas is cutting pilot numbers for the first time in 40 years. Photo: Getty Images

Qantas has informed its Boeing 767 and 747 pilots that 223 of them will be surplus to requirements by the end of June as part of its 5000 company-wide staff cutting exercise.

Qantas says 152 of them will be offered retraining on various other aircraft - but many of these would require relocation to other cities - in particular Adelaide.

The scheme will offer voluntary redundancy packages of one year's pay for those with more than 15 years with the company and less for those with fewer than 15 years.

It's unclear how many will take the package and thus what proportion of the pilots will be forced to leave.

Culling pilots won't be a cheap exercise for Qantas which employs a seniority based redundancy scheme whereby senior pilots take priority over their more junior colleagues which could force cuts to be taken in the junior pilots ranks.

While the redundancy costs would be lower for more junior pilots the rump of those staying would be more highly paid.

In addition it will involve hundreds of pilots being retrained.

The move follows an announcement two weeks ago of 475 job cuts from Melbourne and Brisbane call centre staff as the company consolidates these functions to a single location in Tasmania.

This is all part of  rapid fire cost cutting initiatives aimed at taking $2 billion in costs out of the airline over the next three years as it seeks to stem the flow of losses from its international division and revive the performance of its domestic operations.

In the first six months of the 2014 financial year the airline lost $250 million and there are expectations that the full year loss could hit a mammoth $1 billion.

Qantas has undertaken two debt issues over the past month in order to pay down more short term debt and is expected to bolster its cash levels via the partial sell down of its Frequent Flyer loyalty business.

However the biggest advancement made in its quest to restore profits has been the decision to call a truce in the capacity war with Virgin which has led to a flood of additional seats on the domestic market over the past couple of years.

HuffPost Australia

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