Latvian hybrid carrier airBaltic has begun to rehire cabin crew who were let go due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, there are a couple of catches. At this stage, only 20 members of staff are being rehired. Additionally, to be rehired by the Riga-based carrier, the former crew must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we fly. Two years ago, masks weren’t required on flights, and vaccination passports were few and far between. Much has changed as airlines, individuals, and nations look to recover from the worst global crisis in recent memory.
20 crew rehired
airBaltic has started a process to rehire 20 members of the flight crew who were let go directly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2020 financial year, the airline had said goodbye to 30% of its workforce. While the number of rehired employees may seem low, hopefully, more can rejoin as the airline’s recovery progresses, with the airline favoring previous staff over new employees.
To select which staff members are successful in regaining their jobs, the all A220-operator will look at their motivation, qualifications, and previous experiences. They will then resume work duties in two groups from June. The 20 lucky candidates will join 73 other employees already rehired, including 18 other cabin crew members.
Commenting on the rehiring, the airline’s CEO, Martin Gauss, said,
“More than a year ago we were forced to make tough decisions, including letting many of our people go. We provided them with various benefits, including a social package. Today we are proud that we are in a position to rehire. We are confident about our future, and know that soon we will return to our growth path, which will mean hundreds of new highly skilled job opportunities.”
Vaccinations are mandatory
A condition of the rehiring process is that employees will be vaccinated. It is unclear if they need to be vaccinated to apply or will be vaccinated as part of the rehiring process. All of the airline’s front-line employees are required to be vaccinated against the virus.
By the end of the month, the airline is set to have given 70% of its workforce the first dose of the vaccine. According to the latest statistics from Google, 20.6% of the Latvian population have had one dose, with 6.3% fully vaccinated.
One would imagine that the Latvian government requires vaccinations rather than airBaltic. While Delta’s CEO has made no secret that he wants his workforce vaccinated, the same cannot be said of airBaltic’s Marting Gauss. Gauss previously exclusively told Simple Flying,
“I think I have no right to order it of an employee… I would like to have a situation that I can say all of our crews are vaccinated, but we cannot order people to do that.”
What do you make of airBaltic rehiring staff it was forced to let go of? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!