Czech Airlines (CSA) has informed all remaining staff members they will be laid off. The future looks grim for one of the oldest airlines in the world. But CSA claims the move is simply a necessary part of its efforts to restructure.
Will Czech Airlines Survive The Pandemic?
Founded in 1923, Czech Airlines is one of the oldest airlines in the world. It joined the SkyTeam alliance in 2000. Like most carriers, it was hit hard in 2020 when the pandemic led to an 84% drop in traffic.
“Early last year, Smartwings Group seemed to be heading for the best results in its history. Instead, it had to face an unexpected and unprecedented aviation industry crisis. A dramatic decline in demand caused by the extraordinary circumstances forced us to adopt severe austerity measures and take many radical steps.
“A key factor for a revival of travel is successful vaccination of the population. Our goal is to regain a position of a major player on the European aviation market and a competitive air carrier. We still believe we can make it, mainly thanks to our employees who have done extremely well during the crisis. Big thanks to them!”
Staff Layoffs Raise Questions
But the move to make all staff redundant is sure to raise questions, even as CSA continues to sell tickets on its website. Lidovky, the oldest Czech newspaper still in print, issued a report this morning that CSA will not cease operations. Rather, a spokesperson noted that making all staff members redundant is part of the restructuring process and that many jobs will likely be saved.
“CSA will not stop operations. In any case, the restructuring process aimed at rescuing CSA continues. The plan for collective redundancies, which CSA announced to the Labor Office, is one of the steps in the restructuring measures.”
Czech Airlines is currently under a protective moratorium against creditors which is set to expire at the end of February. The airlines’ future may depend upon whether it receives a bailout from the Czech government.
Conflicting reports make it too early to tell whether CSA is just embarking upon a bankruptcy-like restructuring process or whether it faces a serious threat to cease operations.