Icelandair is laying off 88 employees from tomorrow, the 1st of October, a report from RÚV revealed this morning. 68 of these 88 are pilots.
Several dozen further employees who were on temporary employment contracts will also not be having their contracts renewed at the end of the month.
This was stated in an announcement from Icelandair, and the measures have been taken in response to low demand for flights during the pandemic. This comes following the cancellation of multiple Icelandair flights in recent weeks, previously reported on by the Grapevine here.
Many of the flights have been cancelled at short notice with demand rapidly fluctuating given changing travel restrictions due to coronavirus in Iceland. Bogi Nils Bogason, CEO of Icelandair, told RÚV in an interview at the beginning of the month that the company simply couldn’t afford to fly half-empty planes.
Between the 1st and 7th of September, only 37 of the scheduled 135 flights to and from Keflavík airport went ahead: this is a 73% cancellation rate. Though other airlines such as EasyJet and Wizz Air have had considerably fewer cancellations, Bogi emphasised that he “[could] not answer for other airlines” and that flying flights at a lost “just does not work out in the long run.”
However, Visír emphasised that following Icelandair’s recent successful share offering, the company is well placed to deal with the continued uncertainty. It is hoped that as soon as the situation improves for the aviation industry it may be possible to bring some of the employees who have been laid off back.
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