Amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to the grounding of over 76 domestic planes, distinct fear has gripped over 8,000 airline and allied workers as employers begin massive cut of salaries.
Arik Air on Wednesday slashed the April salaries of its workers by 80 per cent and sent over 90 per cent of its over 1,500 employees on compulsory leave without pay.
Already, Azman Air and Max Air had sent over 1,000 workers on compulsory leave without pay, citing the ravaging effect of the COVID-19 on business.
The eight domestic airlines and allied companies account for over 8,000 jobs.
On whether Air Peace would cut down on staff salaries, the carrier’s spokesperson, Stanley Olisa, said the airline had yet to decide on what it would do regarding the issue.
He said, “No such decision has been taken. If any decision on that has been taken, of course, we will have to put out a statement through the media.
“So for now, no decision of such has been taken by the management.”
Olisa admitted that Air Peace had been observing the lockdown order of the Federal Government, saying the management had not concluded on whether to cut staff salaries or ask workers to proceed on leave.
He said, “I saw the report on Arik but the management of Air Peace has not taken any such decision.
“Again, if there is such a decision we will put it out and you will know. So, for now, nothing like that with Air Peace.”
For Dana Air, the airline also said it had not decided on the matter yet. The spokesperson for Dana Air, Okwudili Ezenwa, said the airline would come up with its plan after the end of the current lockdown.
He said, “No decision has been taken for now on staff and payments. You know the current lockdown ends next week Monday.
“So hopefully we should have a plan by next week.”
However, sources close to the carrier said there were speculations that Aero might cut workers’ salaries by as much as 50 per cent this month.
Meanwhile, operators in Nigeria’s airline and tourism sub-sectors have put the economic stimulus package required by the industry at about N45bn.
According to them, the intervention would help curtail job losses, pay cuts and other economic woes currently bedevilling the sectors.
This came as two indigenous airlines, Air Peace and Dana Air, declared that they had yet to decide on pay cuts for workers or whether to ask their employees to go on compulsory leave.
Both airlines disclosed this on Friday after Arik Air slashed salaries of its workers by about 80 per cent and sent about 90 per cent of its employees on compulsory leave without pay.
Reacting to the instability in the travels and tourism sub-sectors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria urged the Federal Government to accord priority and prime attention to the sectors in all its economic stimulus, palliatives and interventions.
The National President, ITPN, Abiodun Odusanwo, said the sectors had suffered the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic because of the nature and economic activities of the business that involved the movement of people and services. This, he said, was why operators in the sectors needed urgent an intervention from the government to salvage the sectors from looming collapse.
On areas that required intervention, Odusanwo said they include the grant of a moratorium period for all bank facilities received by operators in the travel-hospitality and the tourism sub-sectors for a period of not less than six months.
He called for a tax-free regime in the first and second quarters of 2020 as part of the post-COVID-19 intervention.

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