* Domestic capacity down from 90% of pre-COVID levels
* Outlook dampened through October due to lockdowns
* Staff could be stood down if they last longer than
SYDNEY, July 22 (Reuters) - Qantas Airways Ltd's
domestic capacity has fallen to less than 40% of pre-COVID
levels due to lockdowns in three Australian states, its chief
executive said in a memo to staff, in a setback to what had been
a strong recovery.
State border closures led to the sharp fall in domestic
capacity from 90% of pre-COVID levels earlier in July and have
dampened the capacity outlook through October, Chief Executive
Alan Joyce said in memo dated Wednesday that was reviewed by
The airline had in April forecast that domestic capacity
would top pre-pandemic levels in the financial year that started
on July 1 because of a rebound in demand.
Joyce said in his memo that if the lockdowns in New South
Wales, Victoria and South Australia ended when scheduled,
domestic capacity should return to about 60% of pre-COVID levels
in August and up to 80-90% in September and October.
However, he warned that if the lockdowns last longer than
expected, domestic staff face the possibility of being idled
"We're not at the point of requiring stand downs in our
domestic operations at this stage," he said. "But to be honest,
we can't rule it out if multiple states keep their borders
closed for extended periods."
Australia has fared better than many other developed
economies in keeping COVID-19 numbers relatively low, with just
over 32,100 cases and 915 deaths.
However, mobility has been tightly controlled. The
international border is closed with the exception of New
Zealand, and states have often shut their borders to each other
to stop small outbreaks from spreading across state lines.
(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Gerry