(CNN) -- Calling recent financial losses "an unacceptable and unsustainable result," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce announced Wednesday the airline will cut 5,000 positions over the next three years.
Joyce also said the Australian-based carrier would sell or defer the order of 50 planes as it tried to realize $2 billion Australian in savings by 2017.
About 1,500 of the job reductions will be in management and nonoperational roles. Other cuts will come as the result of changes to the fleet of airplanes and as some routes are taken off the schedule.
"We have already made tough decisions and nobody should doubt that there are more ahead," Joyce said.
The CEO put some of the blame on Virgin Australia, which has increased its flights in Australia since 2011 and has the advantage of an "uneven playing field."
"The Australian domestic market has been distorted by current Australian aviation policy," he said.
He also cited record fuel costs and economic volatility.
Joyce told investors that Qantas lost $252 million Australian in six months. The airline employs 33,000 people, according to the company website. About 93% of them are based in Australia.
CNN's John Raedler contributed to this report.