Qantas tightens its belt

Qantas is unwilling to detail how its IT department will be affected by operational changes outlined in an internal memo issued to staff yesterday.

Geoff Dixon, CEO of Qantas, issued two memos outlining a number of belt-tightening measures that the company will be undertaking in the face of current aviation industry turbulence.

However, Qantas did not detail how the changes would affect the company's IT operations. David Burden, executive general manager, technology and services at Qantas, said the changes would be no different to those occurring in any other department, nor different to the way things have been for the past year.

"We are controlling expenditure extremely tightly and doing only those things that are necessary to support the essential operations of the company," he said.

"We are exploring every possible way to reduce expenditure," he added.

According to an operational update issued by Dixon, the fallout from problems impacting on the aviation industry, including recent terrorist activity and the Ansett collapse, had affected the company's international operations and no increase in demand is expected for the next six months.

As a result, the company will be reviewing its manpower and executive staff numbers, as well as putting a freeze on the appointment or replacement of contractors and consultants for any non-operational staff. In addition, there will be no across-the-board salary increases for executives, and discretionary expenditure and non-operational capital expenditure will be frozen.

Dixon notes that although Qantas is not feeling the pinch as severely as some of its competitors, the company had deemed it "prudent" to make changes.

Dixon has also called a meeting with union representatives to discuss how a "level playing field" can be achieved, given a differentiation in enterprise agreements being negotiated between unions and Qantas' competitors.

"If we are to protect, and hopefully in the future, grow jobs in Qantas, we cannot have a situation where unions hold firm on one set of conditions for Qantas, while agreeing to preferential terms with our competitors," according to the memo.

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