Coronavirus update for business: Qantas slashes fares, Airbnb lays off 25% of staff, and what will offices look like post-COVID-19?

Qantas

A Qantas plane. Source: AAP/Dan Himbrechts.

New AI hub up North

The Queensland government has unveiled $5.5 million in funding for a new artificial intelligence hub to “supercharge the state’s AI capability”.

Innovation Minister Kate Jones says the immediate focus for the fund will be on supporting firms to use AI in building up the state’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

The fund will serve as an expansion of Queensland’s The Precinct project, which is funding construction across Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley in a bid to stimulate private sector innovation in Queensland.

Airbnb slashes payroll costs

Sharing-economy giant Airbnb has cut 1,900 jobs, laying off 25% of its entire workforce in the face of coronavirus-induced pain.

The company says its facing uncertainty over when global travel will return to some semblance of normal and can’t afford to keep its current workforce on the books.

“We don’t know exactly when travel will return. When travel does return, it will look different,” Airbnb boss Brian Chesky said, in comments reported by The Guardian.

Offices post-COVID-19

The humble everyday office is going to need to undergo some significant changes in a post-COVID-19 world.

The federal government is already working with state officials on new occupational health and safety (OH&S) guidelines… but what would this translate too?

This Business Insider article out of the United States provides some ideas. Picture sneeze guards, restricted movements and, of course, social distancing.

Cheap airfares on the way?

It may cost you more to take a train from Sydney airport to the CBD, than to fly from Melbourne to Sydney, under plans being floated by Qantas to kickstart air travel in the wake of COVID-19.

Qantas is considering slashing airfares massively to encourage demand for its Sydney to Melbourne route once travel restrictions lift in the coming months.

Under those plans, Jetstar could offer some incredibly cheap fares, with prices between $19 and $89 being floated by the airline.

Given it costs about $17 to get the train out of Sydney airport, these prices are pretty nuts.

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