Two of Australia’s biggest airlines have stood down staff for the next two months due to the latest coronavirus outbreak.

Qantas and Jetstar announced on Tuesday that 2,500 staff will be temporarily stood down in response to recent domestic border closures. 

Affected staff will include domestic pilots, cabin crew and airport workers, mostly in NSW, where Sydney and surrounding regions are in their sixth week of lockdown, which won’t be lifted until August 28 at the earliest.

Employees have been given two weeks’ notice before the stand down takes effect, with pay continuing until mid-August.

No job losses are expected. 

Qantas and Jetstar have stood down 2,500 for the next two month. Pictured is a deserted Qantas terminal in Sydney last week

Qantas and Jetstar have stood down 2,500 for the next two month. Pictured is a deserted Qantas terminal in Sydney last week

Qantas and Jetstar have stood down 2,500 for the next two month. Pictured is a deserted Qantas terminal in Sydney last week

‘This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying and that means no work for a number of our people,’ Qantas boss Alan Joyce said in a statement.

‘We’ve absorbed a significant amount of cost since these recent lockdowns started and continued paying our people their full rosters despite thousands of cancelled flights. 

Around 14 million Australians in NSW, Victoria and South Australia were in lockdown at the same time in July, forcing other states to close their domestic borders

Large swathes of south-east Queensland are currently in lockdown until Sunday afternoon.

Qantas and Jetstar’s domestic flying operations have plummeted from almost 100 per cent two months ago to less than 40 per cent in July.

Qantas' domestic flying operations have been impacted by recent state border closures, which dropped to less than 40 per cent last months due to outbreaks in three states

Qantas' domestic flying operations have been impacted by recent state border closures, which dropped to less than 40 per cent last months due to outbreaks in three states

Qantas’ domestic flying operations have been impacted by recent state border closures, which dropped to less than 40 per cent last months due to outbreaks in three states

‘Hopefully, once other states open back up to South Australia and Victoria in the next week or so, and the current outbreak in Brisbane is brought under control, our domestic flying will come back to around 50 to 60 per cent of normal levels,’ Mr Joyce said

‘Based on current case numbers, it’s reasonable to assume that Sydney’s borders will be closed for at least another two months. 

‘We know it will take a few weeks once the outbreak is under control before other states open to New South Wales and normal travel can resume’ 

Mr Joyce is hopeful of employees back to work returning to work once domestic borders have fully reopened.

‘This is extremely challenging for the 2,500 of our people directly impacted, but it’s also very different from this time last year when we had more than 20,000 employees stood down and most of our aircraft in hibernation for months on end,’ he said.

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