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Royal Air Maroc’s first 787-9 Dreamliner. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Royal Air Maroc Considers More Layoffs Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

After Royal Air Maroc’s first wave of layoffs that targeted 140 employees – including 65 pilots – the airline seems set to announce a “second wave” of employees layoffs.

Royal Air Maroc’s first round of layoffs was proposed on the basis of projections expecting the resumption of flights in July. The small number was then accompanied by voluntary departures for workers and affected 141 Airline staff with the dismissal taking effect on Aug. 31.

But now that Morocco’s airspace is set to remain closed at least until Oct. 10 — with an exemption for the special flights program— the airline is preparing for even more layoffs to cope with the three extra months of inactivity as Morocco remains committed with mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Le 360 reports that cutting more jobs remains inevitable as Royal Air Maroc Executives maintain the airline needs to shed jobs and minimize its payroll in the light of the ongoing COVID-19 travel depression.

Royal Air Maroc is among the top five companies that registered the highest financial losses due to the impacts of COVID-19. The Directorate of Public Enterprise and Privatization reported that Royal Air Maroc has lost MAD 1.05 billion ($109.1 million) per month throughout the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Royal Air Maroc will not have an easy ride moving forward, as tensions have already risen between company management and the airline’s pilots, who are reportedly ready to reduce their salaries (up to 400 million dirhams over three years) to avoid further layoffs.

But even as the pilot’s proposal is deemed as too late by Royal Air Maroc management, the Moroccan Association of Airline Pilots (AMPL), the technical flight crew is determined to campaign in favor of the reinstatement of the dismissed pilots as part of a procedure marred, in their eyes, by several technical flaws.

If they fail to accept their call for a reduction in salary, a strike notice will be given on a date to be set by the association’s office, depending on the evolution of events and the health context.

The CEO of Royal Air Maroc, Abdelhamid Addou, advised the AMPL to propose even lower salaries or another 102 pilots will be laid off, as per Le 360.

As Royal Air Maroc and AMPL continue to debate with locked horns that make productive dialogue next to impossible, the prospects of a mutually-acceptable solution looks also unlikely.

Victor Shalton
Victor Shalton
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