COVID-19: Air Peace downsizes operations, s scores of pilot
Nigeria's leading Air Peace, has downsized its operations, sacking scores of pilots across its fleet and slashing its staff salaries by up to 40 per cent as it seeks to readjust to the realities of business in the COVID-19 era.
“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,” the airline's spokesman, Mr. Stanley Olise, said in a statement on Monday.
The restructuring of operations, he affirmed was necessitated by the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Olive, while describing the exercise as “painful but rightful decision,” the said the cutbacks were necessary to ensure that Air Peace survives the hardship of the times.
The statement reads in part, “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 organisations, insurance companies, banks and other creditors hence the decision to restructure its entire operations with a view to surviving 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 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 be able 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 the management of Air Peace has always been known to be 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 the 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 the 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 from these challenges.”