Coronavirus-hit Turkish Airlines to put foreign pilots on unpaid leave

A Turkish Airlines plane is pictured on the tarmac of the Ataturk Airport on April 4, 2019, in Istanbul. (AFP)

Turkish Airlines will be putting foreign national pilots on unpaid leave to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its finances, according to company emails seen by Bloomberg.

The national flagship carrier has told some of the foreign crew by email that their leave starts from Nov. 1 and that the decision would be reviewed after six months.

Visit our dedicated coronavirus site here for all the latest updates.

The company emails don’t state how many pilots will be affected.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Turkish nationals would also be affected. A spokesman for Turk Hava Yollari AO, as the airline is officially known, declined to comment. The Hava-Is labor union, which represents around 75 percent of the airline’s 30,000 employees, couldn’t be reached by phone during the weekend.
Airport Haber, an aviation industry news website, first reported the furlough plan on Wednesday.

Like carriers worldwide, Turkish Airlines has been hit by a combination of border closures and a slump in travel during the pandemic. It reported a loss of 2.23 billion liras ($280 million) in the second quarter, with passenger numbers down by almost two thirds so far this year.

Unlike many peers, the carrier has refrained from job cuts or applying for a government bailout. Instead, it has pared pilot wages by half through 2021 and reduced salaries for other workers. The latest decision is in line with an official proposal floated in August, when aviation authorities asked airlines their opinions on dismissing foreign staff before Turkish nationals could be fired.

Chairman Ilker Ayci said early in the pandemic that the airline would keep jobs but some "sacrifices would be needed down the road."

The company’s shares are down 28 percent this year, compared with a gain of 4.1 percent for Turkey’s benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Read more:

Turkish lira weakens near to record low after policy tightening move by Central Bank

Turkish lira sinks to new record low amid possible US sanctions

Turkey considering reimposing coronavirus curbs, without hurting economy

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Monday, 26 October 2020 KSA 03:18 - GMT 00:18
Top