Job insecurity in the aviation industry amidst this pandemic has been substantial. Close to 3 million jobs have already been affected, with many more to follow if airlines do not start operations any time soon. However, on a positive note, Turkish Airlines Chairman Ilker Ayci, has stated that the airline will maintain its staffing levels for two years, even as the ongoing pandemic has evaporated global air travel.
‘We see 2020 and 2021 not as years of profitability, but as years to protect employment. Global airlines’ revenue is unlikely to recover to 2019 levels for at least the next couple of years, and our job is to resist layoffs, as much as we can afford to.’
However, Turkish Airlines has not made any commitments and has highlighted in its statement that no company – aviation or otherwise – can completely protect its workforce when there is a substantial drop off in sales, and so, if the situation calls for it, they will have to make sacrifices. As per the latest statistics, the number of passengers Turkish Airlines has been able to carry in March 2020 has fell 53% from same time, last year. To see through these tough times, Turkish Airlines shall be assessing new sources of finance, which might include selling old aircraft, suspending orders of new ones and salary cuts, Ayci said. Turkish Airlines has implemented a 30% and 55% pay cut for its junior and senior employees respectively in April, 2020.
Furthermore, Turkish Airlines shall be reducing its fleet size, and shall cut down few domestic routes. As airlines are in dire need of revenue, reports have also come in that tickets will be comparatively expensive, as carriers will shift to lean business model to stay afloat. While Turkish Airlines shall not keep the middle seat empty, it shall ensure that once flights resume, the aircraft is disinfected after every couple hours and proper hygiene is maintained across their fleet.
While these are tough times for aviation, we are indeed seeing an improvement – Indian and Chinese aviation has resumed, and now, Turkish Airlines having stated their motive not to reduce any workforce.
Do you think we are past the worst period in this aviation lock-down? Or will a second wave of the virus cause any more damage for the already struggling industry? Let us know in the comments what you think!