Hungarian airline Wizz Air scraps 1,000 jobs

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Hungarian budget airline Wizz Air said on Tuesday, April 14, it is cutting 1,000 jobs and cutting salaries for the remaining staff as it struggles to cope with Europe's coronavirus lockdown.

"Despite all our efforts, the company has taken the difficult decision to proceed with 1,000 layoffs, representing 19% of the workforce," the Budapest-based carrier said in a statement.

"Supplementary measures will be taken in the near term," it added as the aviation industry suffers from the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

Salaries for the chairman, board members, and senior managers will be cut by 22% while pilots, cabin crew, and administrative personnel will take a 14% reduction, Wizz Air said.

The Hungarian no-frills airline is currently operating at just 3% of flight capacity and expects to register exceptional losses of 70 million to 80 million euros ($76.7 million to $87.7 million) in its 4th quarter, which ended in March.

Before the crisis hit, Wizz Air was flying to 151 destinations in 44 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and had enjoyed strong growth in recent years.

The entire aviation industry has been brought to a near standstill due to the pandemic. 

Airline passenger revenues are set to plunge by 55%, or $314 billion, in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.

It marks a sharp worsening of the forecast for the aviation industry – just 3 weeks ago the decrease was predicted to be 44%, or $252 billion.

"The industry's outlook grows darker by the day," said IATA chief executive Alexandre de Juniac. – Rappler.com