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Airlines around the world are firing employees left, right, and centre

Airlines around the world are firing employees left, right, and centre
LifeInternational1 min read
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  • The recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) financial outlook for the global air transport industry said the airlines are expected to lose $84.3 billion in 2020.
  • AirAsia is expected to let go of several of its employees in India as its part-owner AirAsiaBerhad struggles to maintain its group operations.
  • The Dubai based carrier Emirates laid-off around 792 employees, according to reports.
Airlines around the globe are still struggling to turn around even after the government announced certain relaxation for the aviation industry. The pandemic and the resultant nationwide lockdown has severely affected economic activities around the world, and the financial crisis in the aviation sectors is expected to have prolonged effect compared to the other sectors, said a senior official at SBI, while speaking at a webinar organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) financial outlook for the global air transport industry said the airlines are expected to lose $84.3 billion in 2020. It also said the airline industry’s revenue is expected to fall by 50% to $419 billion from $838 billion in 2019.

Impact of the airline struggle has been pretty open where airlines enforced cost-cutting measures ranging from salary cuts to furloughs.

Here are some of the massive layoffs that affected the lives of many in the aviation industry

AirAsia may lay off 30% of its workforce

AirAsia may lay off 30% of its workforce
BCCL

While this isn’t unprecedented, the recent victim of the COVID turbulence is AirAsia. According to reports, AirAsia is expected to let go of several of its employees in India as its part-owner AirAsiaBerhad struggles to maintain its group operations.

The company is planning to reduce up to 30% of its workforce across its operations, including Indian— which it part-owns with the Tata Sons. It is also planning to cut salaries by up to 75% for remaining staff. The group also reduced staff salaries by up to 20% for April.

One of the largest firings in the Aviation industry

One of the largest firings in the Aviation industry
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What came as one of the largest firings in the aviation industry, the Dubai-based carrier Emirates laid-off around 792 employees, according to reports.

Emirates airline on Sunday said it had made some staff redundant due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with two company sources saying trainee pilots and cabin crew had been affected, according to Moneycontrol.

“We reviewed all possible scenarios in order to sustain our business operations, but have come to the conclusion that we, unfortunately, have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us,” a spokesperson said.

Air Arabia laid off more employees after 57 in May

Air Arabia laid off more employees after 57 in May
Air Arabia Twitter

The Sharjah-based airline Air Arabia in the United Arab Emirates made further redundancies due to the business impact of COVID-19, according to the airline spokesman.

The airline has about 2,000 employees; however, it did not reveal the number of redundancies. The company earlier laid off 57 employees in May.

The latest job cuts were a “last alternative” after the airline took a series of steps in past months to protect jobs, the spokesman said, without elaborating.

Air Canada laid off up to 60% employees due to Covid-19 pandemic

Air Canada laid off up to 60% employees due to Covid-19 pandemic
Air Canada

Air Canada said that it would temporarily lay off 16,500 employees starting this week due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“To furlough, such a large proportion of our employees is an extremely painful decision but one we are required to take given our dramatically smaller operations for the next while,” Xinhua news agency quoted Chief Executive Calin Rovinescu as saying in a statement on Monday.

The layoffs of 15,200 unionised workers and 1,300 managers came amid drastically reduced flight capacity from the Canadian flag carrier.

WestJet laid off around 7,000 employees

WestJet laid off around 7,000 employees

Canada’s second-largest airline WestJet said on March 24 that it laid off around 7,000 employees due to the COVID-19 crisis. The company also added that some of the layoffs are temporary.

The company also clarified that 6,900 departures comprise early retirements, resignations and both voluntary and involuntary leaves after WestJet asked staff to choose one of those options or reduce their hours or pay.

“This is devastating news for all WestJetters,” CEO Ed Sims said in a statement.

“The fact that we avoided a potentially worse outcome is testament to the spirit and selfless attitude demonstrated by our people, who have enabled WestJet to continue operating with a remaining collective workforce of 7,100,” he added.

US flag carrier American Airlines and major air carrier Delta are preparing for potential layoffs

US flag carrier American Airlines and major air carrier Delta are preparing for potential layoffs
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In a letter addressed to employees, the US flag carrier American said that it needs to terminate about 30% of its staff as it transitions into a smaller airline due to the pandemic.

The company said the decisions would be communicated in July, and those staff members will remain on the payroll until September 30.

“A more efficient leadership team begins at the top, and we are restructuring all levels around key future leaders and functions, beginning with our officer team,” the letter to the employees said.

“We will announce a reorganised officer team soon, and those leaders will be restructuring at the next levels shortly thereafter,” it added.

Delta airlines also announced similar plans and said “smaller Delta, unfortunately, means fewer people will be required,” according to CNN.

Delta is offering employees two different voluntary exit programs, including a retirement package for employees who have worked at Delta for more than 25 years.

12,000 personnel could be axed at British Airways

12,000 personnel could be axed at British Airways
BCCL

Nearly 12,000 employees of British Airways could lose their jobs in a proposed restructuring policy at the UK carrier amid the baleful impact of the coronavirus crisis on the global aviation industry.

British Airways has formally notified its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme, according to the BBC.

“The proposals remain subject to consultation, but it is likely that they will affect most of British Airways’ employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000 of them,” the airline’s parent company IAG said in a statement.

Indian airlines took some cost-cutting measures too

Indian airlines took some cost-cutting measures too
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Although Indian airlines did not opt for layoffs, they did announce some significant salary cuts for their employees.

The flag carrier Air India decided to implement a 10% cut in the allowances of all its employees until May. Another major carrier IndiGo announced pay cuts ranging between 5% to 25%, in addition to its leave-without-pay programme.

And, in another drastic measure, the debt-ridden carrier SpiceJet told its pilots that they wouldn’t be paid any salary for April and May. Only Pilots operating cargo flights will be paid— that too for hours flown.

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