Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Icelandair facing a difficult future

The national carrier of Iceland, Icelandair is having to face a difficult future, its relations with staff is, according to some at the airline 'fractures' and at 'a all time low'.  Cabin crew have been openly calling for strike action prior to an agreement being met last week and pilots are finding themselves with little to do.

During the second quarter of 2020, the airline performed only about 3% of its normal passenger flight schedule and reported a net loss of over US$90 million. It estimates COVID-19-related one-off cost amounted to US$43.8 million in the quarter and US$224.8 million in the first 6 months of the year.

Although there was one bright spot in an otherwise bleak operating results, the carrier had managed to double its cargo flight overs from the same time period last year. 

Bogi Nils Bogason, President and CEO of Icelandair said: “The second quarter was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We only operated three per cent of our planned passenger flight schedule but focused on keeping vital air routes open to Europe and North America. Revenue, which decreased by 85% between years, was driven by our cargo and aircraft leasing operations where our employees across the Group showed remarkable resourcefulness and flexibility to seize opportunities during this challenging time. In the second quarter, cargo flight hours doubled from last year.

We had to take difficult but necessary measures in the quarter to reduce cost and prevent cash outflow. This included significant reduction in our workforce and changes to our organisational structure. The work on the financial restructuring of the Company is progressing and we aim to have reached agreements with all our key stakeholders by the end of July, followed by a share offering in August.

All our efforts now are aimed at getting the Company through this period by using our flexibility to react quickly to changes in demand in the short term and at the same time strengthen the long-term competitiveness of the Company. I would like to thank our employees for their sheer commitment and resilience during this time and our customers for their patience and cooperation. It is crucial to have reached agreements with our cabin crew, pilot and aircraft maintenance unions and I am grateful for their important contribution in ensuring the future competitiveness of the Company. Going forward we see many opportunities for Icelandair Group’s business model and with new long-term union agreements, I strongly believe that we’ll be able to present an attractive investment opportunity for prospective investors in the coming weeks.”

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