Nigerian airline Air Peace has fired more than 70 pilots from its payroll and cut staff pay by up to 40 percent.
“This decision was made for the greater good of the company and its nearly three thousand – strong workforce, including the affected pilots,” the company said in a statement.
The statement added that the closure of airspace around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant that a reduction in the workforce was inevitable.
“The airline cannot afford to go down the path of being unable to continue to meet its financial obligations to staff, external suppliers, aviation agencies, operating organizations, insurance companies, banks and other creditors.
“Hence the decision to restructure all its activities in order to survive in those times.
“The pandemic has hit all airlines in the world so hard that it has become completely impossible for airlines to stay afloat without conducting an internal restructuring of their expenses.
“Anything we didn’t do could lead to the collapse of the airline, as has been seen in some places around the world during this period.
“Therefore, we decided to review the salaries paid to all employees. The new salaries reflect a reduction of 0-40 per cent of previous salaries, depending on the salary class of each employee.
“Even after the cuts, it was obvious that in order for us to maintain our operations and survive in those times, some jobs inevitably had to go,” the statement said.
Management stated that Air Peace never owed a salary in its six years of operation.
Rather, according to the company, Air Peace is known to periodically raise the salary of its employees without any prompting from the staff.
“In fact, in one fell swoop, Air Peace increased pilots’ salaries by more than 100 percent in one day!
- In the last five years, we have always been paid until the end of the month.
- So, we love all our employees. This decision is unavoidable in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
“In order to preserve the continuity of most existing jobs and the possibility of creating new ones in the future, the airline’s survival is of paramount importance.
“When everything is back to normal, those pilots who were injured today will have a place to return in the future if they so wish,” the statement said.
“We live in difficult times. Even the largest airlines in Europe, America, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and even Africa are either cutting jobs and salaries to stay afloat, or closing down.
“The air world is not immune from these challenges,” the statement said.
Nigeria closed its airspace to domestic and international flights in March in an attempt to curb the spread of a new coronavirus pandemic.
Domestic airlines were allowed to start flights from July.