Other than travel bans, many people are slowing down on travels and vacations since the outbreak of Covid-19. This has severely impacted not only businesses around the world but airlines as well. The Edge reported that Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAS) had offered its employees to choose between taking three months of unpaid leave or five days of unpaid leave per month for at least three months.
A total of 13,000 employees are affected by this as this voluntary unpaid leave programme extended to the employees employed by subsidiaries of Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), such as MAB Kargo, MAB Engineering, Firefly, and MASwings. This programme is set to begin in April 2020, implying that the programme will be going on until at least July 2020.
The Edge has also reported that this particular programme is in line with the reduced operations in MAS following a capacity management exercise due to the coronavirus. Besides that, more than 2,000 MAS flights have been cancelled up to April because of the various travel restrictions imposed.
Malaysia’s newly appointed Health Minister, Datuk Seri Adham Baba announced a travel ban from South Korea, Italy, and Iran yesterday (11 March). This is on top of the earlier implemented travel ban of travellers from China.
According to The Star, the travel ban will be implemented from Friday (13 March) onwards. The Malaysian people who return from the aforementioned countries will also be quarantined for 14 days.
The CEO of MAS group, Captain Izham Ismail, mentioned that the senior management of the group has decided to reduce their pay by 10% to lower operational costs. Other than the pay cut, the management will forego their allowances as well.
“The impact (of Covid-19) to the market is tremendous. People are not travelling. Businesses not operating as they used to be and the aviation landscape has changed tremendously. MAG is not spared from all of this,” said Captain Izham.
Following the momentum of current affairs, more flights will be cancelled as demands decrease. Just in the first quarter of 2020, MAS had already removed 7.1 percent of its capacity. Besides MAS, other airlines like Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, and EasyJet are also offering their employees unpaid leave.
Other than these airlines, Malindo Air had given orders to its employees to take two weeks of unpaid leave, on top of a 50 percent salary cut due to suspended flights.