Nigeria’s leading commercial airline, Air Peace, has sacked 69 pilots across its fleet types. This is due to the negative impact of Covid-19 pandemic on its operations and financial health.
Air Peace said it had to take the “painful but rightful” decision in the face of the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Spokesman of the airline, Mr. Stanley Olisa said in a statement that the company took the decision “as a result of the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on its operations and financial health.”
“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 continue to fulfill its financial obligations to its staff. As it also has obligations towards 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 statement said.
Air Peace also explained that the pandemic has hit every airline worldwide so badly. 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 up to 40 per cent 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 inevitably have to go.
More Details in Air Peace Statement
“Air Peace has never 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. That is 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 five years!” the statement said.
Air Peace said it loved its staff but the decision it took was 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 reflects the negative impact of the pandemic on airlines and aviation worldwide. We are in trying times. Even the biggest airlines across the world are either slashing jobs or cutting salaries in order to remain afloat. Others are shutting down. Air Peace is not immune from these challenges,” the airline added.