Brussels Airlines to cut 1,000 jobs amid coronavirus slump
Tuesday, 12 May 2020
More than 1,000 Brussels Airlines jobs are on the line as the company rolls out a strategy to remain profitable amid the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: Brussels Airlines
Brussels Airlines has announced plans to cut some 1,000 jobs and dozens of flight destinations in an effort to keep business afloat through the coronavirus pandemic.
Citing the “extremely negative impact” of the pandemic on operations, the airline on Tuesday unveiled a turnaround plan focusing on ensuring the company’s survival as well as its “structural profitability.”
In a press release, the air carrier announced a plan that included the reduction of personnel costs by laying off 25% of its workforce.
The company currently employs 4,200 people and, before the pandemic, operated around 250 flights every day, including 65 in Europe and three overseas flights, to North America and Israel.
But the airline has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with air travel restrictions and slumping demand forcing it to ground all its flights since late March.
The turnaround plan will also see Brussels Airlines’ fleet shrink by 30%, from 54 to 38 aircraft, including two of its long-haul carriers.
In an effort to “optimise route profitability” the company will also be scrapping more than a dozen destinations, including two of its long-haul flights, while it will scale down its European routes to 56.
As the airline stated that it would aim to boost worker efficiency and improve productivity it said it would look into options to limit the number of forced dismissals, including by calling on “volunteer” employees to hand in their resignations or to agree to unpaid leave.
“The company, therefore, invites its social partners to assess together all alternative measures to reduce the social impact to a maximum extent: measures like seasonal contracts, pensions, part-time work, unpaid leave volunteers who would seek their future elsewhere – to name just some options,” Brussels Airlines wrote online.
The company has been in talks with the government in efforts to clinch a bailout package worth €290 million.
But negotiations with its parent company, Lufthansa, have been rocky, as the German travel firm has shown reluctance to the Belgian governments’ push to obtain guarantees for the growth Belgium’s national airline, VRT reports.