In a bid to survive economic hardship brought by coronavirus outbreak, a private airline operator in Nigeria, Air Peace, has sacked 69 pilots and slashed salaries of staff by 40 percent to aid the company in surviving current pandemic.
The company stated that decision to relieve the affected staff of their duties and slashing of salaries were reached to save the sacked staff and over 3000 workforce on its payroll.
Confirming the decision through a statement made available on Monday by the airline spokesman, Stanley Olise, the company described the sack as painful but a rightful decision to ensure that Air Peace survives the COVID-19 season.
“The Management of Air Peace wishes to state that it has taken a very painful but rightful decision, in the circumstances the airline has found itself as a result of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations and financial health, to terminate the employment of some of its pilots.
“This decision was taken for the greater good of the company and its almost 3000 workforce, the affected pilots inclusive. The airline cannot afford to toe the path of being unable to continue to fulfill its financial obligations to its staff, external vendors, aviation agencies, maintenance organizations, insurance companies, banks, and other creditors hence the decision to restructure its entire operations to survive the times.
“The pandemic has hit every airline worldwide so badly that it has become very impossible for airlines to remain afloat without carrying out an internal restructuring of their costs. Anything short of what we have done may lead to the collapse of an airline as could be seen in some places worldwide during this period. Therefore, we decided to review the salaries being paid to all staff. The new salaries reflect a 0%-40% cut of the former salary depending on the salary grades of every staff. Even after the cuts, it was obvious that for us to sustain our operations and survive the times, some jobs must inevitably have to go.
“Air Peace has never, for one day, ever owed salaries to its workers in its almost six years of existence, pilots inclusive. Rather Air Peace management has always been known for increasing salaries of its employees periodically without being prompted by staff. In fact, in one fell swoop, Air Peace increased the salaries of pilots by over 100% in one day! Our salaries have always been paid even before the end of the month in the last 5 years!
“So we love all our staff. This decision is inevitable under the circumstances we find ourselves. In order to protect continuity of majority of the existing jobs and the possibility of creating new ones in future, the survival of the airline is of paramount importance. When everything comes back to normal those pilots affected today will have a place to come back to in future if they so wish.
“The decision is a reflection of negative impact of the pandemic on airlines and aviation worldwide. We are in trying times. Even the biggest airlines in Europe, America, Middle East, Asia, Australia, and indeed, Africa, are all either slashing jobs and cutting salaries in order to remain afloat or are shutting down. Air Peace is not immune to these challenges.”