Qantas mulls moving Sydney head office interstate

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The airline will also look at moving its heavy aircraft maintenance facility in Brisbane, which employs about 750 people, to any other airport in Australia along with its flight simulators in Sydney and Melbourne.

“Like most airlines, the ongoing impact of COVID means we’ll be a much smaller company for a while,” Ms Hudson said.

“We’re looking right across the organisation for efficiencies, including our $40 million annual spend on leased office space. As well as simply right-sizing the amount of space we have, there are opportunities to consolidate some facilities and unlock economies of scale.”

Qantas said it would shop around state governments for financial incentives to move its operations or leave them where they are. The airline obtained Queensland government support two years ago to open a $35 million flight school in Toowoomba.

The Queensland government offered $200 million to keep Virgin Australia based in Brisbane after it collapsed in April, while the Victorian government gave retailer David Jones a taxpayer handout to move 820 head office jobs from Sydney to Melbourne in 2016.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the state government was open to working with Qantas to keep as many jobs in NSW as possible. “If there is a way in which they can consolidate in Sydney or in Western Sydney, then we are open to those discussions about how we can assist,” Mr Perrottet said.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew said he had a “very productive” discussion with Qantas boss Alan Joyce on Monday night about keeping existing jobs in the state and luring more of its operations south.

That included moving office jobs and the heavy maintenance work, he said, noting there was “enormous amounts” of space at Avalon Airport, where Qantas previously conducted maintenance work.

“We think that we have a very attractive offer to make and we’ll work through that to try and have as many jobs as we possibly can in our city and state,” Mr Andrews said during his daily press conference in Melbourne.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick also committed to working with Qantas to keep its heavy maintenance base in Brisbane. He said the state government had a good relationship with the airline after negotiating with it to open its 787 Dreamliner base in Brisbane and pilot school in Toowoomba.

“Queensland is the reason there’s a ‘Q’ in Qantas,” Mr Dick said.

After the pandemic pushed Qantas to a $1.9 billion loss last financial year, the company has launched a three-year cost-cutting program designed to deliver $15 billion in savings by 2023 and $1 billion in annual benefits after that.

Qantas said it had appointed Colliers International to sublease about 25,000 square metres of surplus office space. The company will move out of its office in Melbourne’s historic 333 Collins Street building, which houses parts of Qantas Loyalty; close its office in Sydney’s CBD in October, shrink its Hobart contact centre and sublease part of its Mascot campus.

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