SWISS will lay off up to 780 employees and reduce the fleet

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Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has decided to cut hundreds of jobs and shrink its fleet, as the company struggles to resist the global restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company's fleet will be reduced by 15% compared to the existing fleet in 2019. The fleet of aircraft used for short and medium-haul flights will be reduced by 10, from 69 to 59, and the fleet of aircraft used for long-haul flights will be reduced with 5, from 31 to 26. As a result, short and medium distance flights are "Likely to be reduced compared to 2019 levels, and flights may not yet be resumed on several direct intercontinental routes", the airline wrote in a statement.

SWISS has already announced declining earnings, and will now reduce to 1.700 jobs and is likely to make up to 780 layoffs, a 20% decrease compared to 2019, the pre-pandemic period. The Covid-19 pandemic, which stopped international travel in 2020, was a disaster for the airline. Now, however, the company wants "structural" changes.

SWISS will lay off up to 780 employees and reduce the fleet by 15%.

"It has become increasingly clear that the market is undergoing structural change and that, despite the actions we have taken fairly quickly, a restructuring of our company now seems mandatory, unfortunately.", said SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. A process of consultation with the social partners has been initiated to try to find the best conditions for this restructuring. The talks are due to end by mid-June.

Vranckx, who replaced former CEO Thomas Klühr at the end of last year, said the new measures would save around CHF 500 million ($ 550 million), which would allow the company to "Repay bank loans as soon as possible and sustain and maintain - in a sustainable way - the credentials and allow the recovery of the ability to invest".

The Union of Public Services (SSP-VPOD) is pressuring SWISS to reconsider what it perceives as a high-risk strategy. The Union points to recent studies that predict more positive scenarios for air traffic, including a return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021.

Currently, those traveling to Switzerland need to self-isolate for a period of ten days, but this period can be shortened if travelers perform a PCR test for Covid-19 after seven days and the result is negative. Switzerland requires PCR tests to be carried out, within 72 hours of entering Swiss territory, on all persons over the age of 12 entering the territory of countries located in areas with a high epidemiological risk or who choose to travel with the airplane.

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