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COVID-19: Bristow sacks 100 pilots, engineers

A day after Air Peace sacked over 75 pilots, embattled Bristow Helicopters, yesterday, announced the sack of over 100 pilots and engineers made up of Nigerians and expatriates. This is coming amid industrial action embarked upon by labour unions that has crippled the airline’s operations.

The airline, however, based its decision on the severe impact of COVID- 19, stating that its business has been affected adversely and would use the period to now restructure all aspects of its business model. Bristow’s management said: “The spread of COVID-19 virus has severely impacted all sectors in the aviation industry, including our market, which primarily serves the Nigerian oil and gas sector. In addition, the ongoing downturn in the global oil and gas market continues to influence and determine the demand for our services.

“The combined effects of these ‘arising’ have resulted in very significant reductions to our business, particularly a reduction in the number of contracted aircraft in Nigeria. As a result, the company must now restructure all aspects of its business model (both Rotary & Fixed Wing), including an extensive review of its operations and we continue to drive efficiencies, but with zero compromise to safety and our core values.

“One of these measures includes the right sizing of the business to ensure that the company has the optimal level of personnel to continue the safe delivery of its services to its clients, whilst allowing the appropriate capacity for future growth. Accordingly, and with much regret, the company has taken the very difficult decision to release over 100 pilots and engineers (both National and Expatriates) over the next couple of weeks.” Bristow continued: “In compliance with the relevant labour and local content laws and also best practices; the company has engaged the leadership of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) to negotiate a fair and equitable redundancy compensation for the affected individuals.

“In compliance with the terms of employment, the affected individuals will be paid three months’ salary (excluding applicable deductions) following their exit from the company. The redundancy packages will be paid to them as soon as an agreement has been reached with NAAPE. “This decision has not been made lightly, but having considered the state of the business and the very serious constraints caused by the spread of the COVID-19 disease and the downturn in the oil and gas market, the company must now take this painful, but decisive step to ensure the continuity of its business and delivery of essential services to its clients.”

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