A new Airbus XWB A350-900 of Fiji Airways takes off for its first flight at the Airbus delivery center, in Colomiers, near Toulouse, southwestern France, on Nov. 15, 2019. (Pascal Pavani /AFP via Getty Images)
SYDNEY—South Pacific carrier Fiji Airways said on May 25 it would cut 51 percent of its staff permanently as it negotiates with lenders and aircraft lessors for payment deferrals and seeks to arrange more debt financing due to the pandemic-driven downturn.
“The sad reality of prolonged flight suspensions means that we simply do not have work for a large segment of our workforce now, and for the foreseeable future,” Fiji Airways Chief Executive Andre Viljoen said in a statement.
The airline said the staff cuts would affect 758 employees, including 78 expatriate pilots and eight expatriate executives.
Remaining staff will have their salaries cut by 20 percent permanently effective June 1, and the airline will extend flying cuts to August, the carrier said.
Viljoen said the measures would help ensure the survival of the Fijian airline, which is a backbone of the island nations tourism industry.
“Many large and respected airlines around the world are collapsing as a consequence of this unprecedented crisis,” he said. “However, we will do everything within our power to ensure that Fiji Airways does not suffer the same fate.”
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