The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, MD/CEO, of Airpeace airline Mr. Allen Onyema says it will down size its operations when flights resume in the country.
This action he says will affect some of the workforce activities and no inflight service again onboard it domestic flights across its routes network.
Speaking during a webinar organized by Aelex partners with the theme: “Survival Strategies for Nigerian Airlines”, Mr. Onyema said these decisions have been taken to cut cost by the airline due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the Industry, adding that some staff maybe asked to stay home until the situation improves.
He said on resumption, passenger traffic would be low due to fear passenger may entertain regarding air travel and to this end, a lot has to be done to encourage people to travel again.
The Airpeace boss said few of its aircraft would be deployed at resumption as well as reduction in the number of flights.
“Out of our 13 Boeing 737 in Airpeace aircraft, we are only going to deploy 4 if them, out of our 8 ERJ’s, we are going to deploy only 6 because those ones are just 50 seater, so we will manage with those ones.”
“From 100 flights per day, Airpeace is going down to 42 flights, so going to Abuja will no longer be every hour, do down sizing of your operations is good in cutting cost, so, we are down sizing our operations to almost about 60%, we are going to do about 40% of our operations and even in that 40%, we are not going to carry 40% of the passengers we use to carry before.”
“Passenger figures are not going to be the same again like what it use to be years back, everything has changed, so going into operations, a new set of regulations will emerge.”
According to Mr. Onyema, with the reduction in the number of flights, few staff would be required for the operations.
He emphasized that Airpeace was not sacking any staff, adding that when flight increases more staff would be brought in.
“Even we at Airpeace, we are going to down size, I expect every airline to down size because the passengers are not going to be there in the beginning, it will take time, so if you push out all your planes, you have yourself to blame.”
Onyema said staff must understand that the airlines have to stay afloat and restart its business and must be profitable for them to be active participants.
The Airpeace boss stated that staff who might be affected by the action to be taken by the airlines should see this as sacrifices for the stability of the airline business.
“So, what happens to the staff? I suggest that what airlines should do because you cannot pretend that you can carry all of them the same time, when you go down, they go down finally and permanently and forever, no hope for survival again.”
“So even the staff must understand that they have a collective Commonwealth which is the airline, that airline must survive for them and their family to survive and how do make the airline survive, sacrifices must be made at this point in time, airlines must downsize their work force, I see some unions talking about if anyone sacks anybody, I don’t understand, they are just grandstanding, they can do it, airlines have not been flying for two months, airlines live by the day all over the world, even bigger airlines have been closing, going into bankruptcy.”
On no serving of food on flights, Onyema said the era of serving food(snacks, cooked foods which may also include drinks) are over, adding that in other climes, nobody is served food except water.
He urged Nigerian airlines who intends staying in the business to toll this line as this period is not a time to engage in competition of winning over customers with food.
“Now we are doing short flights in Nigeria, flight of 40 minutes or 30 minutes at most one and a half hours, the most Important thing every airline is to, you don’t need any NCAA or the regulator to tell you what to do, cut out out feeding, time has come for Nigerian airlines to stand up and stand firm, if one airline says I want to drag customers to ourselves, we want to serve food, we want to serve pounded yam and egusi, good luck to the person. But going forward I think Nigerian airlines should stop serving food, in America 2 hours flight they don’t serve nothing, they give you water. In Nigeria, somebody flying from Lagos to Akure for about 25 minutes flight, he will expect you to give him pounded yam.
“We must now as an industry stop serving food on Nigerian airlines, if anyone wants to serve food, good luck to the person but Airpeace will not give anybody food going forward.”
Onyema on health safety, also suggests less interaction of crew with passengers and the wearing of face masks must be a most.
“The less interaction you have with passengers onboard the better for the staff and better for the passenger, the issue of wearing masks is compulsory.”