Taiwan’s China Airlines rides out coronavirus storm without layoffs

Freight transport emerges as unexpected lifeline for Taiwan’s national carrier

(China Airlines photo)

(China Airlines photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China Airlines (CAL) assured investors on Tuesday (June 23) that there will be no plans to slash jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on the travel industry.

Taiwan's national carrier is among the hardest-hit airlines worldwide, with passenger flights currently operating at just three to four percent capacity and average monthly revenue plummeting from NT$10 billion (US$338 million) to NT$400 million, reported UDN.

The company, though, has managed to deliver a stellar performance in the business of cargo transport, said Hsieh Shih-chien (謝世謙), chairman of CAL. The company's 18-plane cargo fleet raked in a record-breaking NT$9 billion last month, Hsieh said at a recent shareholders meeting.

The airline has implemented a range of relief measures since the outbreak of COVID-19, from 15 to 25-percent salary cuts to working hours reduction. Aimed at propping up the company’s finances, these policies are expected to be terminated by August, Hsieh stated.

Earlier this month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasted a gloomy outlook for global airlines, which are expected to suffer losses totaling US$84 billion in 2020 and an additional $15 billion in 2021. These figures do not even take into account the impact of a potential second wave of the pandemic, wrote Forbes.