Qantas Cans HQ Reshuffle


Qantas will keep its head office in Sydney and its budget arm Jetstar based in Melbourne following an extensive review of the location of key facilities brought about by impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline said it has reached agreements with the NSW, Queensland and Victorian governments to keep their respective facilities within each state.

Each state government will also provide the airline with “a range of benefits” including tax relief and tourism funding for staying put.

In September, Qantas said it was considering a complete overhaul of its physical footprint and the possible closure of its current head office in Sydney's Mascot in a bid to reduce its $40 million annual leasing cost.

Qantas experienced a $2.7 billion statutory loss for FY20, due to international and state travel restrictions, and laid off close to a third of its workforce—8000 people.

“Aviation has probably taken the biggest hit of any industry from the Covid crisis, and Qantas has seen $11 billion in revenue evaporate because of state and federal travel restrictions,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said.

The group, currently undergoing a $15 billion three-year cost cutting drive, had considered moving Jetstar into its existing head office in Sydney, as well as moving both to a new location such as Brisbane, or Melbourne.

It also toyed with moving its heavy aircraft maintenance facility in Brisbane, which employs about 750 people, to another airport.

▲ Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.

“Moving one or both of our headquarters was always a live option and there were times in the process where that seemed to be the most likely outcome,” Joyce said.

“Ultimately, once the final offers were assessed on a like-for-like basis, the set of decisions we made was the most beneficial to the group overall.”

Qantas will now remain at its headquarters in Mascot in Sydney’s inner west, which currently employs 3500 staff, and said that it would be expanding the Qantas Loyalty offices at the facility.

Cromwell, the landlord for the 48,000sq m Mascot campus near Sydney Airport, said it welcomed the announcement of the airline's recommitment to its lease which runs until 2032.

The airline will also base a new flight training centre that is scheduled to open in 2023 in NSW.

The Queensland government will keep the heavy maintenance facilities in Brisbane, and is negotiating with Qantas about conducting aircraft maintenance in Cairns.

Jetstar will relocate some heavy maintenance on its Airbus A320 fleet from Singapore to Brisbane as part of a trial in 2021, with the potential for this to be extended.

Queensland will also get a new training centre at Brisbane Airport that is due to open in November.

Jetstar will remain headquartered in Collingwood, Melbourne, with talks ongoing with the Victorian government about a potential new office location.

Qantas will expand its Jetstar maintenance facilities in Melbourne and expand its existing flight training centre.

Discussions with state and federal governments also looked at accelerating the development of a sustainable aviation fuels facility, for which Qantas has committed $50m over the next decade.

Qantas said the total value of the state government incentives would roll out over multiple years and remain confidential.

Qantas obtained Queensland government support two years ago to open a $35 million flight school in Toowoomba, while the Queensland government offered $200 million to keep Virgin Australia based in Brisbane after it collapsed in April.

Similarly, the Victorian government provided retailer David Jones with a taxpayer handout to move 820 head office jobs from Sydney to Melbourne in 2016.

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