RIGA - Latvia's airBaltic national carrier plans to cut 700 jobs in total and to rehire its staff when growth resumes, airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss told LETA.
"This year, our total capacity will be reduced by around 40 percent. Accordingly, we want to adjust it to the number of employees. We have warned the employment authorities and trade unions that we are planning to reduce the number of employees by 700 people," Gauss said.
He said that the airBaltic staff will be reduced in various ways. "There are various ways. We offer unpaid leave, termination, compensating salaries for one or two months," Gauss said.
The airBaltic CEO admitted that no agreement has been reached about the planned job cuts with the trade union. "In accordance with Latvian laws, we need to reach an agreement with the trade union. It has not been reached yet and the talks are ongoing," Gauss said.
In his words, the goal is to reduce the number of employees to 1,000 people so that the company remains operational and can return to profitability as soon as possible. "When we resume growth, we will rehire these people. airBaltic aims at 2,500 employees because we want to keep growing in the future. We will employ these people again, but now we have to reduce our staff, otherwise we are losing too much money too quickly," Gauss said.
Gauss noted that he has given up his salary for the time of the Covid-19 crisis, which in itself cannot save airBaltic's financial situation but can serve as a message on how the company is being guided through the crisis.
As reported, in an effort to prevent Covid-19 from spreading further in Latvia, a state of emergency came into force on March 13, setting a number of tough restrictions. The state of emergency is in force until April 14. The emergency measures include a ban on all international passenger transportation by air, sea, roads and railway.