Qantas is facing calls to repay millions of dollars worth of taxpayer-funded subsidies as it cuts loose another 2400 workers.

Ground crews including baggage handlers and cleaners are among the jobs being outsourced by the national carrier and its budget off-shoot Jetstar.

The cuts come on top of the 6000 Qantas workers sacked in June as the airline battles losses due to COVID-19.

Many of the latest jobs to go have been on hold for months with support from the federal government’s JobKeeper fund.

The Transport Workers Union argues the airline has received about half a billion dollars in support from Canberra, some of it designed to guarantee workers have jobs after the pandemic.

“Now what it wants to do is displace these jobs and pocket the difference from those workers, from their families,” TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said.

“What (Prime Minister) Scott Morrison should do is ask them to pay that money back and take an equity stake and take control of this airline and get it back on an equal footing.”


Qantas spokesman Andrew David said the airline was doing what it needed to survive the pandemic, which had caused an 80 per cent drop in domestic traveller numbers.

“Outsourcing this work to specialist ground handlers would save an estimated $100 million in operating costs each year,” he said, acknowledging that the news would be tough for workers.