Latvia’s flag carrier cuts capacity and reduces staff

As airBaltic cancels a total of 580 flights, the number of its employees is being reduced by 250

airBaltic The Riga-based airline has suspended flights to Milan and Verona until the end of April, and to Rome and Tel Aviv up to the end of May (airBaltic)

Citing the on-going Coronavirus crisis and “the changing daily environment in the network”, airBaltic, Latvia’s flag carrier is drastically reducing its capacity for the upcoming three months.

In line with the capacity reduction, its second in recent times, the number of employees, mainly crew, will also be temporarily reduced by up to 250 people.

The staff reduction plans show that the carrier is seeking “voluntary solutions, a non-extension of probation times, unpaid leave and termination,” airBaltic informed its employees during an extraordinary staff briefing on March 11.

“This is a hard, but necessary decision. We had a very positive start to this year in the first two months but now we are facing extraordinary circumstances. We must do this now to be able to re-hire people and be back on our growth path once the situation improves,” stresses Martin Gauss, airBaltic’s chief executive.

“Right now, there is no option to continue as usual. Flights need to be cancelled, aircraft grounded. We see a sharp and unexpected decline in bookings. But we are certain that the situation will get back to normal,” he adds.

As of March 11, airBaltic has cancelled a total of 580 flights from March 31 until May 31, and has temporarily suspended flights to Milan and Verona until the end of April, and to Rome and Tel Aviv up to the end of May.

The Riga-based carrier’s fleet of 38 aircraft consists of 22 Airbus A220-300s, four Boeing 737s and 12 Bombardier Q400Next-Gen turboprops.

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