Qantas' international head leaves airline as overseas flights unlikely to return until mid-2021

The head of the company's domestic business, Andrew David, will take on additional responsibility

FILE PHOTO: Qantas planes are seen at Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney, Australia, March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

Qantas Airways said on Monday its international division head Tino La Spina would leave the company, in a cost-saving move at a time when the airline has grounded all international flights due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The head of its domestic business, Andrew David, will also take over the responsibilities of Mr La Spina, a former Qantas chief financial officer who spent 14 years at the company and is well known to investors.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said it had become increasingly clear that the airline's international flights would be grounded until at least mid-2021 and it would take years for flying to return to historical levels.

"Under those circumstances, we've made the decision to consolidate the domestic and international business units under a single divisional CEO," Mr Joyce said in a statement.

The changes will take effect from September 1, the airline said.

Mr Joyce will also be on reduced pay of 65 per cent of normal levels until November, while his direct reports are on 85 per cent of normal pay as part of its response to the pandemic.

Qantas last week said state border closures were severely hampering a recovery in the domestic aviation market, which, alongside its lack of international flying, would lead to a significant loss this financial year.

Citi analyst Jakob Cakarnis forecasts the airline will report an underlying pre-tax loss of around A$260 million (Dh685.3m/$186m) in the year ending June 30, 2021, according to a note to clients on Friday.

Qantas shares closed 4.4 per cent lower on Monday, having fallen 47 per cent since the start of January.

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