Thursday, 23 April 2020

Icelandair warns of substantial job losses this month

The national airline of Iceland will continue to operate just a few flights each week for the next few weeks the board of Icelandair confirmed on Wednesday as it warned of imminent job losses.   

As the aviation and travel industries are facing tremendous uncertainty regarding the near future,  with no real idea when travel restrictions will be lifted, or when demand will start to increase again, the management of Icelandair has started preparing for an extended period where the Company’s operations are expected to remain at a minimum level. 

Extensive measures will, therefore, be taken during this month that will include a considerable reduction in the number of employees and changes to the organizational structure. At the same time, necessary core operations will be secured to maintain the flexibility needed for the airline to be able to scale up quickly when markets begin to recover again. 

The airline has been holding talks with various Icelandic banks and other potential investors in recent weeks,  along with the Icelandic government in a bid to secure investment to see the company through the current crisis. There has been "very little movement towards a strong positive outcome" of those discussions a source close to the negotiations told Air101 on Wednesday.  

The airline also recently operated a flight with medial supplies from Shanghai to Iceland, whilst over the country it flew a route that produced a heart shape, which drew both praise and criticism from customers and employees alike.  Whilst some saw it as a fitting tribute to health care professionals, others saw it as a waste of resources, burning over a tonne of fuel, adding unnecessary pollution and delaying the supplies even further. Some customers also questioned the wisdom of management that would authorise unusual flight paths at the same time as delaying refunds for thousands of passengers for cancelled flights. 

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