As many as 45 Qantas workers at Canberra Airport have had to apply to the airline in order to keep their job, as part of a review undertaken by the carrier.
The Canberra-based employees are among the more than 2000 existing ground staff who have submitted a bid to Qantas management, which is determining how ground operations will go ahead in the wake of COVID-19.
The airline is determining whether operations such as baggage handling, ramp work and cabin cleaning will be outsourced to external contractors or whether pre-existing employees will be used in a different capacity.
All interested parties had to submit a bid to Qantas for consideration, with current employees finalising theirs late last week, having been put together by accounting firm EY.
Among the Qantas ground staff based in Canberra is airline service officer Chris Carney, who has worked for the carrier for 17 years.
Mr Carney was stood down by the airline just before Easter as the effects of COVID-19 on the aviation industry worsened, but returned to work two weeks ago.
He said while flight levels were picking up again in the wake of state borders reopening, ground staff were anxious about their future.
"There is a lot of uneasiness with people and a lot of insecurity about what people are going to do," Mr Carney said.
"People want to be here and they want their jobs."
External companies that have also expressed interest in bidding include Swissport, which carries out cargo handling at dozens of airports around the world.
Mr Carney said while outside providers were looking at doing the work, Qantas had a responsibility to its existing staff.
"On the side of Qantas aircraft, it says 'Spirit of Australia', but it's not the spirit of Australia to get rid of people in the middle of a pandemic," he said.
"I get that business is business, but seriously?"
The review into ground operations was announced by the airline in August.
It came as Qantas posted a $2.7 billion loss in the past financial year and a $4 billion hit to revenue, mostly due to the impact of coronavirus and the closure of international borders.
A further significant loss is expected in the 2020-21 financial year along with a $10 billion drop in revenue.
A Qantas spokesman welcomed the bid that had been submitted by airline employees.
"COVID has meant airlines have to make fundamental changes to their operations, and whether this work remains in house, or is done by specialist ground handlers, it has to be more efficient in the future," the spokesman said.
"We'll review the bid against the tenders we've received from external suppliers and will provide an update to employees once a decision has been made."
Transport Workers' Union national secretary Michael Kaine said the bid submitted by EY to Qantas on behalf on existing ground staff was a competitive one.
"We urge Qantas to award the work to their loyal, dedicated workers who have invested time and money in training up to the high standards that Qantas passengers expect," he said.