Fiji Airways has announced that it will permanently cut its current staff levels by 51% while also negotiating with lenders and aircraft lessors to defer payments and, additionally, arrange further debt financing as the South Pacific carrier struggles with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The staff cuts equate to 758 employees, of which 78 are expatriate pilots and eight are expatriate executives. “The sad reality of prolonged flight suspensions means that we simply do not have work for a large segment of our workforce now, and for the foreseeable future,” Fiji Airways Chief Executive Andre Viljoen said in a statement. In addition, as of June 1, all remaining staff will have their salaries permanently cut by 20%, while reductions in flight numbers will remain in place until August. These moves are all seen as critical to the survival of the airline which is the lifeblood of the Fijian tourist industry.
“Many large and respected airlines around the world are collapsing as a consequence of this unprecedented crisis,” Viljoen added. “However, we will do everything within our power to ensure that Fiji Airways does not suffer the same fate.” Fiji has also made it clear that it would like to be included in negotiations currently being held between Australia and New Zealand over a proposed “travel bubble” that would permit trips between these countries without the need for quarantine periods. According to Worldometers, there have been only 18 cases of the coronavirus reported on Fiji, with no deaths recorded.Email Post to a Friend