Villa Air announces mass layoffs amid financial woes

Flyme, a private airline operated by Villa Air. (Photo/Villa Air)

Villa Air, the operator of the private airline Flyme, has announced the decision to lay off a large number of its employees as it struggles under financial pressure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Villa Air issued a circular signed by its Managing Director Abdulla Nashid on Saturday night, which says that in face of the financial constraints due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company’s Board of Directors had made the decision to downsize and lay off most of its employees.

The airline operator also said that it plans to restart operations with the few employees who will be laid off in July.

Employees who will be laid off have been offered the option of choosing to remain with the company on no pay leave.

Villa Air said in the circular that those who choose to opt for no pay leave will be reinstated once the economy stabilizes and the company’s operations return to normalcy.

Sun has been informed Villa Air has asked all its pilots except for seven to take no pay leave.

Villa Air has announced it will consider attendance and proficiency in selecting employees who will be reinstated once it resumes normal operations.

However, the company did not say how many employees are being retained, or how many employees it will have when its resumes operations in July.

The majority of Villa Air’s passengers are tourists. The company said in the circular that while Maldives will reopen its borders to tourists in July, it is unlikely that tourists will be allowed from main source markets Germany and other European countries until September.

The company also said it does not expect a large number of tourist arrivals in the coming months.

“The pandemic situation in top source market India is worsening, and China is strengthening measures once again,” said Villa Air in its circular.

Villa Air suspended its commercial operations on March 29, and has been paying employees a monthly salary of MVR 2,800 since April.

The aviation industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in many airlines going bankrupt.

Flyme operates flights to Maamingili Airport and Dharavandhoo Airport. And while it is working on launching international operations, the company said in its circular that the work is unlikely to make much headway amid the current situation.