An aviation union says thousands of jobs to be cut at Qantas weren't unexpected, and has called for the plan to be halted to allow for government intervention.
The airline announced on Thursday 6000 jobs would go under a major restructure, with 15,000 more staff to remain stood down.
Transport Workers Union ACT branch official Ben Sweaney was hopeful ACT workers could be spared the brunt of the impact.
"Members are anxious and want to see what the plan is and would have liked to have been involved in the discussions," Mr Sweaney said.
"It's disappointing to learn from a media release as opposed to being consulted with."
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline planned to return to 40 per cent of its domestic flights by July, but would "become a smaller airline" in response to the pandemic.
We're hopeful the impacts won't be as dramatic in the ACT as they perhaps will be at other ports.Transport Workers Union ACT branch official Ben Sweaney
"It's clear that international travel is likely to be stalled for a long time. IATA - the peak body for airlines - says it will take more than three years for global travel to return to 2019 levels," he said.
"That means all airlines - including Qantas - must take action now. We have to position ourselves for several years where revenues will be much lower. And that means becoming a smaller airline in the short term."
He said staff would be offered voluntary redundancies as a first step, then the organisation would move to forced redundancies.
Mr Sweaney said around 70 Qantas ground staff in Canberra had been working a shared fortnight roster, working two weeks on, two weeks off, since the pandemic grounded planes across the country.
"We're hopeful the impacts won't be as dramatic in the ACT as they perhaps will be at other ports," Mr Sweaney said.
"All aviation workers are hoping the government can intervene and provide a form of airline keeper, like they've done with JobKeeper for other industries."
Qantas said the 6000 jobs to be shed would include 1500 ground staff, 1050 cabin crew, 630 engineering staff, 220 pilots and 1450 non-operational staff in corporate positions.
Its biggest planes have been retired which means almost 3000 pilots will remain stood down, as Mr Joyce said there wouldn't be demand for the large carriers for some time.
He expected domestic travel would return to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels next year, and reach 100 per cent in 2022.
But, he said international flights wouldn't take off until July 2021.
Mr Sweaney said the union would meet with employees and Qantas management on Friday where the impact of the cuts on ACT workers would be revealed.
"It's not unexpected. We knew there was going to be a restructure of some sort as we've seen in other parts of the aviation industry," he said.
"We would have liked to have been included in these discussions but we look forward to working with them during what hopefully is a good outcome in uncertain times."
Aviation unions, including TWU and the Australian Services Union have called on Qantas to halt job cuts and lobby for federal government assistance.
"Before Qantas slashed thousands of workers' jobs and takes more of its planes down to the pawn shop it should be lobbying the federal government for an extension to JobKeeper and financial support to allow the airline to weather the crisis," TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said.
Australian Services Union assistant National Secretary Linda White labelled the redundancies "short-sighted" and "damaging".
"A vital part of the recovery is going to be the support the aviation industry gets from the federal government," she said.
"The continuation of JobKeeper payments post September as part of a bigger aviation keeper package is vital for both the industry and workers survival as the recovery occurs."
Mr Joyce said he had spoken with Prime Minister Scott Morrison about extending JobKeeper payments, which have supported thousands of Qantas staff to the amount of $400 million.
Mr Morrison extended his "deepest regrets" over the job cuts and said government was working through the "complex" issue of supporting industries still subject to crippling restrictions.
He also said workers "understand ultimately" that when Qantas could not "put planes in the air, they can't make any money".
Understanding that "won't make it any easier", he said.
The government needed to push ahead with a review of JobKeeper, Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Tony Burke and Shadow Transport Minister Catherine King said in a joint statement.
"The Morrison government decided to allow Virgin to fall into administration, they decided to deny JobKeeper to thousands of essential aviation workers, and now they are too late to save thousands of jobs at Qantas."