As a result of the COVID-19 medical emergency Royal Air Maroc (RAM) is reportedly preparing for massive layoffs and the sale of 20 planes, including Boeing 787s and 737s. The country’s national flag carrier is also planning to reduce its staff by 30%.
The Royal Air Maroc fleet has been grounded since mid-March except for cargo flights and special missions to bring home Moroccans stranded abroad. Since Morocco declared a state of emergency on March 20, Royal Air Maroc has reportedly been losing $109 million per month.
RAM is preparing for a massive cut in staff
The Moroccan Minister of Tourism, Nadia Fettah El Alaoui, indicated in a House of Representatives meeting on June 8 that Royal Air Maroc was developing a recovery plan that included massive job losses and the sale of aircraft. The North African airline’s strategy became official following a meeting on July 2 between Royal Air Maroc upper management staff representatives and the National Air Transport Federation (FNTA).
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Royal Air Maroc Abdelhamid Addou stated that the layoff plan would see 858 employees losing their jobs. This accounts for 30% of the airline’s global workforce. The terms and conditions of the layoff are yet to be finalized but include voluntary redundancy for workers aged over 57 who have 15 or more years of service.
According to the Moroccan news website, Moroccan World News, slated for the chop are around 180 pilots, a third of all cabin crew, and approximately 13% of ground staff.
With regards to the sale of aircraft, the oneworld alliance member plans to offload four Embraer ERJ-190s, four of its nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 12 of its 37 Boeing 737 NGs. Royal Air Maroc operates a fleet of 60 aircraft that includes two Boeing 767s, six ATR-72s, and two Boeing 737 MAXs that are currently grounded.
COVID-19 has had a devasting impact of Royal Air Maroc
Since its inception in 1957, Royal Air Maroc has never suffered the type of financial hardship it sees now. According to the airline, it has been losing $109 million per month since Morocco closed its international borders after declaring a state of emergency in mid-March.
With tourists staying away, Royal Air Maroc predicts that it will see a 20% decline in air traffic once it starts flying again, due to the effects of the coronavirus.
Royal Air Maroc is not alone, with airlines around the world all reeling from the downturn in travel demand. Many have had to rely on government intervention to keep from going under and will have massive layoffs of their own once help with employee wages stops.
Many airlines will use the coronavirus as an excuse to get rid of staff
Accusations abound that many airlines are looking to use the current crisis to streamline operations. Staff redundancies and fewer flights are just around the corner, and just like Royal Air Maroc, they will do what they need to in order to survive.
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