Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
The Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama today speaking out for the first time in response to the mass termination of Fiji Airways staff.
Yesterday, more than 700 Fiji Airways staff were given termination letters resulting from the severe impacts of COVID-19.
A visibly upset Prime Minister says Fiji’s situation is mirrored across the world with the aviation sector on the brink of collapse in the wake of the virus.
“It’s so sad that we have to come to this but really Fiji Airways had no other option, that’s all I can say.”
Stopping short of offering any assurances given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 era, the Prime Minister is nonetheless hopeful.
“We hope that things will get back to normal as soon as possible so we can get everybody, not only the Fiji Airways staff, everybody else who has lost their jobs to come back online.”
758 employees in total across Fiji’s national carrier yesterday received their termination letters.
FBC News understands that these include a majority of their cabin crew as well as 79 expatriate pilots and eight expatriate executives.
According to a Fiji Airways statement, the staff being let go will be paid a minimum notice period of one month, plus any accumulated leave and other entitlements.
Meanwhile, Fiji Airways Managing Director and Chief Executive, Andre Viljoen, says the adjustments were necessary and unavoidable as the COVID-19 crisis endures, causing the further suspension of scheduled international services and ensuring that the airline will receive virtually zero revenue in the coming months.