- COVID-19: 6,000 Jobs at Risk in the Aviation Sector
Global health crisis amid fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic threatens at least 6,000 jobs in the Nigerian Aviation Industry after local airlines grounded operations completely to curb the spread of the virus.
Domestic airlines grounded at least 76 planes last week to protect staff and passengers at a time when the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country rose to 135, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
Air Peace, Arik Air, Aero, Dana Air, Ibom Air, Max Air, Azman and Overland Airways have at least combined staff strength of 6,000 with Air Peace having the most aircraft at 27 and over 2,000 workers.
Arik Air has another seven planes parked with at least 1,800 workers, according to available data. Aero Contractor, Dana Air, Max Air, Azman Air, Overland Airways and Ibom Air has four planes and over 850 employees; nine planes and around 630 workers, 14 aircraft and over 600 staff; five planes and with the unknown number of staff; seven aircraft with an uncertain number of employees and three planes with over 200 employees, respectively.
However, with revenue plummeted airlines had to stop staff and are likely working on a new payment plan or adopt no work no pay strategy to better manage the holes in their revenues.
According to the Chief Operating Officer, Air Peace, Mrs. Toyin Olajide, Air Peace lost N2.1 billion in the first three weeks of March due to plummeting load factor that dropped below 40 percent.
Olajide said, “We have been losing a lot. We lose money daily because passenger figures have dropped by over 60 per cent.
“We lose N100m daily and we have been doing that in the last three weeks. People are no longer flying. We now attract passengers by lowering the fares in the past three weeks.”
Capt. Ado Sanusi, the Chief Executive Officer, Aero Contractors, said airlines would lose nothing less than N4 billion during the lockdown. He, however, said without government intervention in the aviation sector, people will lose their jobs.
He said, “At the end of the day, airlines would have lost some money and if the Federal Government does not intervene in the form of bailout, people will lose their jobs in the entire aviation industry.
“Definitely some companies will go under and some will reduce operations or lay off workers, so it is left for the Federal Government to intervene and ensure that it reduces all those impact. The losses will be colossal because we have not had to shut down completely before.”
He added that the effect would be more than just ticket sales as some airlines have leased aircraft, engines and maintenance based on calendar.
“If a company makes like N3bn to N4bn a month, it means in two weeks it will be losing between N1.5bn and N2bn, but the impact will be more than ticket sales. Some of the airlines have leased aircraft, some have leased engines then the aircraft are being maintained based on calendar, it is a whole thing that goes into aviation,” Sanusi said.