SWISS boss reckons with 1,000 job losses over two years

SWISS is currently losing up to CHF2 million a day, according to Klühr Keystone

The CEO of Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) expects the company to cut 1,000 jobs within two years. Thomas Klühr says this cost-cutting plan could be achieved through a hiring freeze, part-time working arrangements and early retirement.

This content was published on October 3, 2020

“If fluctuations change as they have in recent years, these three methods could make it possible to eliminate the 1,000 jobs without layoffs,” Klühr said in an interview with the Schweiz am Wochenende newspaper.

The coronavirus pandemic has paralysed air traffic, plunging airlines into the red. SWISS, a subsidiary of German company Lufthansa, expects its business to decline by 20% in the medium to long term. The reduction of 1,000 jobs should suffice in this context, Klühr said.

However, if the situation doesn’t improve, particularly for long-haul flights, redundancies could no longer be ruled out, he added. It would become clear in the first quarter of 2021 whether these measures had been enough or not.

‘Serious problem’

SWISS is currently losing CHF1.5 million-CHF2 million ($1.6 million-$2.2 million) a day, said Klühr, who on September 29 announced he would stand down at the end of the year.

The government’s numerous quarantine rules were tantamount to a second lockdown for the company, he said. “If they continue for months, SWISS will have a serious problem. The airline can hit its targets only if these rules are lifted.”

Klühr said SWISS had approached the government and requested that the quarantine rules be replaced by pre-departure testing. Lufthansa wants to test this solution on a few routes. A test could also be carried out at SWISS. He said the government had expressed understanding.

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