KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine International Airlines, the country’s largest carrier, said on Thursday, May 28, it was laying off more than a third of its staff due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
In mid-March, Ukrainian authorities banned all passenger air services to stop the spread of the coronavirus, dealing a blow to carriers’ revenue.
A company spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse that Ukraine International Airlines was cutting some 35% of its workforce.
“We deeply regret to have stopped employing 900 highly qualified professional[s] because of the substantial decline in the airline’s operations,” chief executive Yevgen Dykhne said in a statement.
He said the management had made “every effort” to cut costs and added that the privately-owned company would do its best to retain key staff including cockpit personnel.
The layoffs will primarily affect administrative personnel and cabin crews.
The airline has been seeking to stay afloat by providing its planes for charter flights, including those carrying Ukrainian seasonal workers to western Europe.
The company said it hoped to restore regular operations after Ukraine resumes air travel on June 15.
According to the carrier’s forecast, its number of passengers is set to plummet to 1.9 million this year from 7.9 million in 2019.
Tycoon Igor Kolomoisky has said he owns 25% of the company’s shares.
Ukraine has reported 22,382 cases of the coronavirus with 669 fatalities. – Rappler.com