By Lawani Mikairu
On resumption of flight operations, Air Peace Airlines will downsize its operations and some staff may be asked to proceed on leave until flight services increased. This is just as the airline will also stop in-flight catering services.
This was disclosed by the Executive Chairman of the airline, Barrister Allen Onyema while speaking during a webinar organized by Aelex partners with the theme: “Survival Strategies for Nigerian Airlines”.
According to Onyema, the airline took these decisions in order to cut costs due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the Industry, adding that some staff may be asked to stay home until the situation improves.
He also said few of the airline’s aircraft would be deployed at resumption as well as reduction in the number of flights.
The Air Peace boss said: “Out of our 13 Boeing 737 in Airpeace aircraft, we are only going to deploy 4 of them, out of our 8 ERJ’s, we are going to deploy only 6 because those ones are just 50 seaters, so we will manage with those ones.”
“From 100 flights per day, Air peace is going down to 42 flights, so going to Abuja will no longer be every hour, do downsizing of your operations is good in cutting cost, so, we are downsizing our operations to almost about 60%, we are going to do about 40% of our operations and even in that 40%, we are not going to carry 40% of the passengers we use to carry before.”
“Passenger figures are not going to be the same again like what it use to be years back, everything has changed, so going into operations, a new set of regulations will emerge.”
With the reduction in the number of flights, he said few staff would be required for the operations. He however emphasized that Airpeace was not sacking any staff, adding that when flight increases more staff would be brought in.
“Even we at Air Peace, we are going to downsize, I expect every airline to downsize because the passengers are not going to be there in the beginning, it will take time, so if you push out all your planes, you have yourself to blame.”
Onyema said staff must understand that the airlines have to stay afloat and restart its business and must be profitable for them to be active participants.”
He said: ” So, what happens to the staff? I suggest that what airlines should do is to downsize because you cannot pretend that you can carry all of them at the same time. Because when you go down, they go down finally and permanently and forever, no hope for survival again.”
“So even the staff must understand that they have a collective Commonwealth which is the airline, that airline must survive for them and their family to survive and how do make the airline survive, sacrifices must be made at this point in time, airlines must downsize their workforce.”
” I see some unions talking about if anyone sacks anybody, I don’t understand, they are just grandstanding, they can do it, airlines have not been flying for two months, airlines live by the day all over the world, even bigger airlines have been closing, going into bankruptcy.”
On no serving of food on flights, Onyema said the era of serving food, namely, snacks, cooked foods which may also include drinks, are over, adding that in other climes, nobody is served food except water.
“Now we are doing short flights in Nigeria, flight of 40 minutes or 30 minutes at most one and a half hours, the most important thing every airline is to, you don’t need any NCAA or the regulator to tell you what to do, cut out feeding, time has come for Nigerian airlines to stand up and stand firm”.
“If one airline says I want to drag customers to ourselves, we want to serve food, we want to serve pounded yam and egusi, good luck to the person.
“But going forward I think Nigerian airlines should stop serving food, in America 2 hours flight they don’t serve nothing, they give you water.
“In Nigeria, somebody flying from Lagos to Akure for about 25 minutes flight, he will expect you to give him pounded yam”, he added.
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