Air Peace has sacked 75 of its pilots and slashed the salaries of its workers by as much as 40%, as part of efforts to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the company was silent on the number of sacked pilots, an official of the company said no fewer than 75 were affected in the purge.
In a statement on Monday, the airline said the decision was taken for the greater good of the company.
“The management of Air Peace wishes to state that it has taken a very painful but rightful decision, in the circumstances the airline has found itself as a result of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations and financial health, to terminate the employment of some of its pilots.
“This decision was taken for the greater good of the company and its almost 3000 workforce, the affected pilots inclusive. The airline cannot afford to toe the path of being unable to continue to fulfill its financial obligations to its staff, external vendors, aviation agencies, maintenance organisations, insurance companies, banks and other creditors, hence the decision to restructure its entire operations with a view to surviving the times.
“The pandemic has hit every airline worldwide so badly that it has become very impossible for airlines to remain afloat without carrying out internal restructuring of their costs. Anything short of what we have done may lead to the collapse of an airline as could be seen in some places worldwide during this period.
“Therefore, we decided to review the salaries being paid to all staff. The new salaries reflect a 0%-40% cut of the former salary depending on the salary grades of every staff. Even after the cuts, it was obvious that for us to be able to sustain our operations and survive the times, some jobs must inevitably have to go,” the company said.
While maintaining that it has never owed its workers and had also increased the salaries of pilots “by over 100% in one day”, the airline said the decision was inevitable under the current circumstances.
Air Peace also added that when everything returns to normal, the pilots who have been sacked will have a place to come back to in future if they wish to return.
In March 2020, flight operations in Nigeria were suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but domestic services resumed in July 2020.