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Qantas will close its call centres in Brisbane and Melbourne with the loss of about 450 jobs, as the airline moves ahead with a $2 billion transformation programme.
The Brisbane call centre, which employs around 200 full time equivalent employees would be closed by 2016, while its Melbourne operation, which employs approximately 250 full time equivalent employees, would close by mid-2015, the carrier announced today.
Employees in the Brisbane and Melbourne call centres will be offered re-deployment to Hobart, where the airline will base its call centre operations in a single facility by 2016.
The decision to close the Brisbane and Melbourne centres follows a three month review.
It's part of a previously announced $2 billion transformation programme, which will eventually see Qantas shed 5000 jobs.
Qantas Domestic chief executive officer Lyell Strambi said operating three call centres in different states was not efficient.
"We are facing some of the toughest conditions Qantas has ever seen, which means we have to look at ways to become more efficient and remain competitive," Mr Strambi said in a statement.
"Having call centres in three different states presents a number of challenges including property costs, duplication of management and operational complexity."
There has been a massive decline in the number of people contacting call centres.
Travellers increasingly prefer to book flights online and with call volumes have halved since 2005.
Mr Strambi said consolidating three Australian call centres into one location would ensure Qantas continued to provide the level of customer service people expect, as well as deliver significant cost savings for the business.
"We are proud that we answer calls from Australia, in Australia, but it is not efficient to have three sub-scale facilities," he said.
Employees who choose not to move interstate and remain employed until the closure of their centre will be provided redundancy packages.
"These are decisions we make in full knowledge of the impact on our people, but also the need to protect thousands of Australian jobs across the Qantas Group by taking action to strengthen our company," Mr Strambi said.
The announcement does not impact Qantas' New Zealand call centre operation which has operated for more than 10 years and mostly handles calls from English speaking customers from outside of Australia.