Qantas asks bosses to volunteer as baggage handlers

Senior Qantas executives have been asked to work as baggage handlers for three months to tackle an acute labour shortage.

At least 100 volunteers are being sought to work at Sydney and Melbourne airports.

Tasks include loading and unloading bags as well as driving vehicles to move luggage around airports.

The managers and executives were asked to work in the baggage handling roles for three or five days a week, in shifts of either four or six hours a day per shift.

More: Qantas signals start of non-stop Sydney-London flights

The note went on to say that applicants need to be able to move bags weighing as much as 32kg each.

“The high levels of winter flu and a Covid spike across the community, coupled with the ongoing tight labour market, make resourcing a challenge across our industry,” Qantas’ chief operating officer Colin Hughes said in an email shared with the BBC by the carrier.

“There is no expectation that you will opt into this role on top of your full-time position.”

A Qantas spokesperson told the BBC: ”We’ve been clear that our operational performance has not been meeting our customers’ expectations or the standards that we expect of ourselves – and that we’ve been pulling out all stops to improve our performance.

“As we have done in the past during busy periods, around 200 head office staff have helped at airports during peak travel periods since Easter.”

Qantas domestic and international chief executive Andrew David said last month: “Restarting an airline after a two-year grounding is complex and aviation labour markets, as with many others, are extremely tight.

“Compounding that is the fact that Covid cases are steeply on the rise again at the same time as the winter flu season.

“The truth is that the difficulties we are facing now are because of Covid and flu related sickness, as well as an extremely tight labour market.

“It’s a difficult truth that airlines, airports, air traffic control agencies and almost every business in Australia and around the world is experiencing.

More: Qantas signals start of non-stop Sydney-London flights

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