11 Air Seychelles pilots to lose jobs, airline says, in further sign of business struggles
Eleven Air Seychelles pilots are expected to be made redundant after a notification for redundancy was circulated to the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs, the airline said on Wednesday.
The airline said that “taking into consideration the financial impact of COVID-19, reduced flying activities and continued closure of markets across the airline’s network, based on the expected recovery scenarios, Air Seychelles had to, unfortunately, evaluate its manpower plan within the Turboprop and Jet Fleet Pilots community.”
Air Seychelles said that after consultations with the affected employees, it will send the list of 11 pilots to the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs by the end of this week to initiate the formal redundancy process.
The laying off of the 11 pilots comes almost four months after the airline announced voluntary redundancy targeting older workers as part of its evaluation of its manpower plan in order to sustain its long-term operations.
“Given the unprecedented employment environment, the airline is also offering various job opportunities currently available within the organization to the affected colleagues as an alternative, in addition to keeping their License Proficiency Check over one year with the possibility of renewal based on improvement in business performance,” said Air Seychelles.
The debt crisis Air Seychelles faces has been the subject of many discussions in the executive and the legislative branches of government of the island nation in the western Indian Ocean.
The Secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance, Patrick Payet, announced in April that Seychelles had reached a deal to take full ownership of its national airline, following talks with Etihad Airways in which the UAE-based airline agreed to relinquish at a steep discount the 40-percent stake it holds.
Air Seychelles had owed $72.3 million to Etihad; with the 79 percent write-down, Seychelles will pay $11.34 million. A total of $71.5 million is still owed to bondholders.
He added that Seychelles is still holding discussions with the Trade Development Bank – a bank in Africa – for a loan to be taken by the government to pay the bondholders and Etihad. Once negotiations are completed with the bondholders, details are expected to be relayed to the media.