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Icelandair Laying Off 115 Pilots

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Icelandair Laying Off 115 Pilots

Icelandair plane

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The head of the Icelandic Airline Pilots’ Association states that Icelandair's decision to lay off 115 pilots this fall does not bode well for wage negotiations, reports RÚV. The Icelandair pilots’ contracts will be up this September.

RÚV first reported yesterday that Icelandair was laying off at least 115 pilots and had also notified 70 captains that they would be demoted to pilots next winter. The report stated that redundancies of this nature can be explained by seasonal fluctuations in demand, and in some cases, the letters of termination are later withdrawn. Around 520 pilots work for Icelandair.

Skúli Mogensen, CEO of competing domestic airline carrier WOW Air, has expressed a willingness to hire the pilots who recently received letters of termination from Icelandair. Skúli stated in an interview with Morgunblaðið newspaper that he would be happy to offer the pilots work as long as they met the qualifications requirements of his company. Icelandic Airline Pilots’ Association Chairperson Örnólfur Jónsson lamented Icelandair’s poor human resources policy and claimed that the move is all about saving money. Örnólfur was interviewed during a morning program on RÚV’s Rás 2 radio station this morning.

“We’ve been working on this issue for some time, for some years. We’re extremely tired of this situation and simply think the human resources policy is unfair and inadequate. They [Icelandair management] see an opportunity to save money by dropping people from the payroll for a few months, and we believe this is something they need to review. The motivation behind it is purely financial.”

When asked if he expected this issue of job security to be addressed during the next round of wage negotiations, Örnólfur responded: “It so happens that the collective bargaining agreement is up at the end of September, and this will clearly contribute nothing positive to the talks, to say the least.”

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