NIGERIAN domestic airline Air Peace has sacked about 70 of its pilots and implemented pay cuts of as much as 40% in response to the losses it has incurred as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.
Like most other countries, Nigeria shut down its airspace and closed its airports when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, paralysing air travel. Over recent weeks, domestic travel has been allowed to resume but passenger volumes remain low, leading to airlines operating at a loss and in response, Air Peace has had to make savage cuts.
Air Peace spokesperson Stanley Olisa, said: “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 organisations, insurance companies, banks and other creditors hence the decision to restructure its entire operations with a view to surviving the times. We also decided to review the salaries being paid to all staff and the new salaries reflect a 0% to 40% cut of the former salary depending on the salary grades of every staff.
According to the airline, the disengaged staff would have a place in the company when things return to normal if they so wish. On July 22, the Air Peace pilots had protested a major pay cut after negotiations with the management over their remuneration broke down.
On Monday this week, aircraft pilots and engineers vowed to resist the termination of employment of the pilots by the Air Peace management. According to the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, the aviation workers insisted that due process was not followed by the carrier in carrying out the exercise.