Calling on state governments for “potential incentives”, Qantas has announced it is considering moving out of its Sydney headquarters as the national carrier looks to cut its $40 million annual spend on leased office space.
Qantas is reviewing the location of its key facilities as part of its recovery plan and bid to cut overheads, which it says could result in combining several facilities, currently spread across Australia, into one state.
The group said it will begin an expression of interest process to state governments over a three month period. The NSW, Victorian and Queensland state leaders were quick to weigh in, saying that they had engaged in preliminary talks with the airline.
All on the table for relocation, are the 5000 Qantas jobs at the Sydney head office site, 1000 Jetstar staff in Melbourne and more than 700 heavy maintenance jobs in Brisbane.
Open to options
Adding that Qantas will remain one of the nation’s largest employers, Qantas chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson said the group is “keen to engage with state governments on any potential incentives as part of our decision-making”.
“Most of our activities and facilities are anchored to the airports we fly to, but anything that can reasonably move without impacting our operations or customers is on the table as part of this review,” Hudson said.
Hudson also made special mention of Western Sydney.
“We’ll also be making the new Western Sydney Airport part of our thinking, given the opportunity this greenfield project represents.”
The group’s property review will focus on non-aviation facilities—including its leased 49,000sq m head office in Mascot and Jetstar’s leased head office in Collingwood, Melbourne.
“We could co-locate the Qantas and Jetstar head offices in a single place rather than splitting them across Sydney and Melbourne,” Hudson said.
“Some aviation facilities will be considered for possible relocation, such as flight simulator centres currently in Sydney and Melbourne as well as Qantas’ heavy maintenance facilities in Brisbane – particularly if there was an opportunity to bring some or all of these facilities together elsewhere within Australia.”
Colliers International has been appointed to sublease about 25,000sq m of office space across Mascot, Melbourne CBD and Hobart.
A lease on a 230sq m Sydney CBD office, due to expire in October, will not be renewed.
The review, which flows on from the 6,000 job cuts made in June this year, will take three months to determine the “preferred option” with the relocations likely to be staggered over years.
Hudson confirmed that Qantas had no intentions to offshore facilities.
Qantas moved its head office from Winton Queensland in the 1920s, before moving into the Wool Exchange building in Brisbane in the 1930s, but has held its Sydney HQ since the 1990s.