Financial constraints imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic via flight cancellations and reductions have seen 10,000 staff of Vietnam Airlines take unpaid leave.
With all international flights halted and domestic flights reduced, Vietnam Airlines estimates its 2020 revenues could decline by VND50 trillion ($2.1 billion). This would see revenues fall to 65 percent lower than the annual target.
This has seen as many as 10,000 employees of the national flag carrier, over 50 percent of its staff strength, taking unpaid leave and 100 percent having their salaries reduced, said Duong Tri Thanh, CEO of Vietnam Airlines.
The carrier has cut the salaries of senior managers by 40 percent this year. Mid-level managers’ salaries have been reduced by 20- 30 percent, he said.
Currently, 100 out of 106 aircraft in its fleet have temporarily suspended operations, Thanh said, stressing that the carrier was going through the hardest time in its history.
Starting March 25, Vietnam Airlines halted all international flights and decreased the frequency of domestic flights from April 1 as the country entered a 15-day nationwide social distancing campaign.
The Vietnam Airlines Group currently has more than 20,000 employees, of which the pilot force is 1,200 people strong, aircraft engineers, 2,500, and flight attendants, 3,000.
Dinh Viet Thang, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), said “scenarios” to deal with Covid-19 pandemic of the aviation industry now have to factor bankruptcy. He feared several carriers could go bankrupt as a result of the pandemic.
Of the 233 Covid-19 infections confirmed in Vietnam until now, 75 have been discharged from hospitals.
Vietnam declared Covid-19 a national epidemic Wednesday afternoon.
To date, the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed almost 53,000 lives in 204 countries and territories.