Fiji Airways Laying off Half Its Workforce in Bid to Outlast Pandemic

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Fiji’s national airline says it is laying off more than 750 staff, representing about half of its total workforce, as it struggles for survival.

Among those being laid off are eight executives and 79 pilots, the company announced Monday. Remaining employees will have their pay reduced by 20% and only get paid for the days they work.

CEO Andre Viljoen said the company was negotiating with lenders and aircraft lessors for payment deferrals. He said Fiji Airways expected to receive almost zero revenue over the coming months due to the coronavirus pandemic causing international flights to be cancelled. He said all other options had been explored before staff was let go.

“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,” Viljoen said in a statement. He said the company had a responsibility to shareholders and to the people of Fiji to survive the crisis.

Fiji’s economy relies on international tourism, which has ground to a halt in the wake of the pandemic.


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