South African Airways’ plane-maintenance division is cutting jobs to help navigate the crisis that’s gripped the air-travel industry throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The restructuring is unavoidable in light of reduced demand from its airline customers, SAA Technical said in a statement. While the state-owned company didn’t specify how many employees would be affected, Derek Mans, a representative of the Solidarity union, said about 60% of a total workforce of just over 2,000 could be eliminated.
The move comes more than a year after SAA, the national carrier and SAA Technical’s main customer, last flew a commercial flight. The airline has been mired in bankruptcy proceedings and its own major job-cuts plan, while international travel restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19 have hampered efforts to resume even a partial service.
Mango Airlines, another member of the SAA group, is also in difficulty. The low-cost carrier was briefly suspended from flying Wednesday by the country’s airports operator over the non-payment of fees. The airline eventually settled part of its debt after emergency talks.