24 September, 2020, 4:35 pm Central - 24°C Rain

Fiji Airways extends the cancellation of scheduled international flights to Sept
No travel bubble arrangements confirmed with Aust and NZ

Fiji Airways extends the cancellation of scheduled international flights to Sept

No travel bubble arrangements confirmed with Aust and NZ

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 12/08/2020
Fiji Airways aircrafts at the Nadi International Airport. [image: file]

Fiji Airways has extended the cancellation of scheduled international services through to the end of September as no travel bubble arrangements have been confirmed between Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.

The flight cancellations are due to ongoing border closures and travel restrictions as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to affect the airline company’s financial position as it has had to take government guaranteed loans to continue to pay it’s loans and other expenses.

The airline company says it continues preparations for a revised network plan, which will be revealed when easing of border restrictions is announced.

Fiji Airways says it is also progressing with the implementation of its Travel Ready programme, which details measures to safeguard the health and medical safety of customers and staff when international flying resumes.

Fiji Airways’ freighter flights and Fiji Link domestic services will continue to operate.

Meanwhile the company has already confirmed that it is working to get payment deferrals for their planes for which leases are still being paid for. They have also gone into negotiations regarding their loans and raising debt finance.

Parliament had earlier approved the motion by Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum for the government to guarantee Fiji Airways loans totaling $455 million.

This includes domestic borrowings of up to FJ$191.1 million and off-shore borrowings of up to US$117.1 million.

The airline company has total fixed costs and other associated costs of $38 million a month.

Fiji Airways CEO and Managing Director Andre Viljoen had earlier said as there had been no cash flowing into the business, the primary focus for the airlines now is to preserve cash reserves.

Some of the measures taken to ensure the preservation of cash reserves is the termination of contracts of 758 of their staff, termination of contracts of their expatriate pilots and other management team members.

All of the airlines 79 expatriate pilots have had their contracts terminated and eight expatriate executives have had their employment terminated, with five expatriate staff remaining, including the CEO.

The CEO had also revealed that some staff who continue their employment have a 20 percent salary reduction and will also work between 2 to 5 days per week, and only be paid for actual days or hours worked.

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