Coronavirus: Fiji Airways fired more than half its workforce

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Pandemic – hit Fiji Airways fired more than half its workforce Monday , as travel restrictions put the islands’ vital tourism sector in deep freeze and reduced the national carrier’ s revenue to “virtually zero ”.

Chief executive Andre Viljoen said that after “exhausting all other options ” the airline had decided to let 758 staff go — some 51 percent of the workforce — while those remaining would face a permanent pay cut of 20 percent.

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“ The sad reality of prolonged flight suspensions means that we simply do not have work for a large segment of our workforce now , ” the airline said in a statement .

“The airline will receive virtually zero revenue in the coming months . ”

Fiji Airways depends heavily on the tourist trade , particularly from neighbouring Australia and New Zealand , but has seen virtually all flights suspended .

Talks are currently underway to create a “ travel bubble ” among South Pacific nations that have coronavirus under control , allowing some tourism to resume.

But details are still being worked out and implementation could be many months away .

Both Australia and New Zealand have stringent restrictions on overseas travel and impose a two – week quarantine on all international arrivals.

Fiji Airways staff had already agreed to a pay cut of up to 35 percent before the jobcuts .

Those who still have jobs will also face a permanent pay cut of 20 percent, the airline added .

Fiji has reported just 18 cases of COVID – 19, with no deaths and no new cases reported in more than a month.

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