Unions fear up to 60 jobs will be axed from Canberra based Airservices Australia as the government owned corporation prepares to launch a wholesale restructure amid declining profitability and increasing costs.
Internal briefings from chief executive Jason Harfield to his senior leadership team, obtained by Fairfax Media, reveal profitability fell by 90 percent from $45.5 million in 2013 to $4.5 million in 2015.
The group is expected to post its first financial loss of $13.6 million this year, and hopes to slash $100 million from its cost base in coming years.
The internal briefing outlined a plan to align pay with performance, eliminate the duplication of certain functions, break "a silo mentality" and use automation to improve office productivity.
"Costs have grown substantially faster than projections over the past two years," the briefing said. "Revenue growth has flattened due to a decline in traffic in the last year."
Professional Australia campaign director Matt Harris, whose union represents public servants at Airservices Australia, said the scale of the job losses was unclear although most were likely to be through voluntary redundancies.
"Our figures indicate there will be close to 32 job losses across the middle management ranks and that's a bit over 50 per cent of the cohort," he said.
"There are additional job losses in the international programs and airport relations sections, which takes the total job losses to between 55 and 60."
An Airservices spokesman said staff and unions were briefed on Wednesday morning but would not confirm the total job losses.
"While we have already made some progress on our broader transformation agenda, we are not moving fast enough," he said.
Mr Harris said the majority of job cuts would be in Canberra although changes were likely in Melbourne and Sydney.
"We are not being properly consulted about the processes behind these departures but we have heard is they are generally voluntary redundancies, but this remains unclear," he said.
A new management structure will be launched on July 1 with Professionals Australia concerned the number of level 3 management staff will fall from close to 80 to 33.
The Airservices spokesman said management roles would be spilled to ensure the most capable candidates were rewarded.
"The new structure has significantly reduced the number of senior managers reporting directly to the executive," he said. "However it does not mean that all individuals not appointed to roles reporting to the executive will leave Airservices, with a number of roles open for applications and which will be contested and advertised."
The restructure comes before the implementation of the $1.5 billion OneSKY program, which will combine civilian and military navigation systems by 2021.
Mr Harris said he was concerned some of the roles could be outsourced with employee expenses increasing by $13.1 million last year to $667.1 million.
"We are in the process of completing reviews of our productivity and contracted arrangements and are seeking opportunities for more flexible sourcing arrangements," Airservices latest annual report said.
"We believe these will provide the basis for a strategic realignment of the cost base."
Airservices Australia employs more than 4400 staff and manages 11 per cent of the world's airspace. It has 29 towers and 1000 air traffic controllers around the country. Last year it managed the movement of 4.5 million flights carrying 90 million passengers.
The network is coordinated from the national operations centre in Canberra, with 15 to 20 staff trying to smooth the passage of about 11,500 flights a day – working to minimise the risk of collisions, while allowing the maximum number of aircraft to fly safely in our skies.