Qantas international head to depart as overseas flying remains grounded

FILE PHOTO: Workers are seen near Qantas Airways, Australia's national carrier, Boeing 737-800 aircraft on the tarmac at Adelaide Airport, Australia, August 22, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Qantas Airways Ltd QAN.AX 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 flying due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The head of its domestic business, Andrew David, will also take over the responsibilities of 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,” Joyce said in a statement.

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

It added that Joyce would be on reduced pay of 65% of normal levels until November, while his direct reports were on 85% 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 ($186 million) in the year ending June 30, 2021, according to a note to clients on Friday.

Qantas shares were trading 3.6% lower at 0050 GMT on Monday, having fallen 47% since the start of January.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Kim Coghill