International Carriers Sack Workers


Chinedu Eze with agency report

International airlines have started reacting to the negative economic impact of the lockdown occasioned by the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.

Reports indicate that Virgin Atlantic has fired more than 3,000 personnel, including 600 pilots; Finnair returned 12 planes and laid off 2,400 people, while You grounded 22 planes and fired 4,100 people

Ryanair also grounded 113 planes and got rid of 9,00 pilots for the moment and indications showed 450 would be sacked in the coming months, while Norwegian completely stopped its long-haul operations and the Boeing 787s it earlier leased have been returned to the lessors

In the same vein, SAS returned 14 planes and fired 520 pilots, but the Scandinavian states are studying a plan to liquidate Norwegian and SAS to rebuild a new company from their ashes

Also Ethiad has cancelled18 orders for A350, grounded 10 A380 and 10 Boeing 787 and laid off 720 staff Emirates has grounded 38 A380s and cancelled all orders for the Boeing 777x (150 aircraft, the largest order for this type) and 56 members of the workforce may retire.

Also Wizzair returned 32 Airbus A320s and laid off 1,200 people, including 200 pilots, another wave of 430 layoffs planned in the coming months and remaining employees would see their wages reduced by 30 per cent.

IAG (British Airways’ parent company) has abandoned the takeover of Air Europa (and would pay €40 million compensation for that); IAG (Iberia) grounded 56 planes; IAG (British Airways) grounded 34 planes and anyone over 58 years were directed to retire. Also Luxair reduced its fleet by 50 per cent (and associated redundancies), CSA abolished its long-haul sector and keeps only five medium-haul aircraft, Eurowings has gone into bankruptcy and Brussels Airline has reduced its fleet by 50 per cebt (and associated redundancies).

German mega carrier, Lufthansa said it planned to ground 72 aircraft (in two installments), while Hop is studying the possibility of reducing fleet and staff by 50 per cent.

Reports also indicated that currently there are 60 new aircraft stored at Airbus with no buyers in sight (order cancellations) including 18 A350s

Industry insiders project that there would be a minimum of 8,000 grounded planes by September. With an average of 5.8 crews per plane (medium and long haul combined), that would make more than 90,000 unemployed pilots worldwide.