AirAsia retrenches more than 300 employees as part of corporate restructuring

AirAsia aircrafts taking off. Photo: AirAsia / Instagram
AirAsia aircrafts taking off. Photo: AirAsia / Instagram

Low-cost carrier AirAsia will lay off 111 flight attendants, 172 pilots, and 50 engineers as part of its restructuring plans, CEO Riad Asmat announced yesterday. 

Affected employees will be notified within 24 hours via email, Riad reportedly said. He did not elaborate on the details of the compensation the airline would provide to retrenched staff. 

The restructuring plan comes as AirAsia suffers losses due to the collapse of the aviation industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Riad said that it was a necessary step for the airline to ensure it could continue to operate. 

Employees from other business divisions, including long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X, may also be laid off, Riad said. However, he did not reveal the exact number of staff to be affected by this. 

The announcement was made after The Star reported that AirAsia was in talks to sell 10% of its shares to South Korea conglomerate SK Corp. AirAsia responded that it has received various proposals from investors, bankers, and lenders to raise capital, and is also in talks for potential joint-ventures and collaborations.

“AirAsia Group Berhad is currently evaluating these proposals and may soon reach a decision as to the final form (which may be a combination thereof) as well as the amount to be raised,” its statement said. 

Meanwhile, AirAsia X plans to reduce the number of aircraft for international travel by half, from 32 to as low as 15. According to AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail, his employees will not receive bonuses or incentives this year but he will maintain their basic salaries and overnight allowances.

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