Bristow Helicopters sacks pilots, engineers as COVID-19 hurts business

Bristow Helicopters

INDIGENOUS commercial aviation operator in Nigeria, Bristow Helicopters, has fired over 100 pilots and flight engineers in its fleet as the negative impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) bites on its business operations.

The development comes barely 24 hours after Air Peace sacked 70 pilots and other staff and slashing the wages of nearly 3,000 workers by as much as 40 per cent.

Bristow Helicopters has been in a labour dispute with members of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) over conditions of service, but took has used the excuse of drop in revenue in the industry to announce the latest development.

On Tuesday, management of Bristow Helicopters said it had now engaged the services of the NAAPE leadership to help in negotiating ‘a fair and equitable redundancy compensation for the affected individuals.’

The airline employs both Nigerian and expertrate pilots and engineers.

According to the airline, the decision to terminate the employment of its technical staff is based on losses incurred, and that it would use the period to now restructure all aspects of its business model.

“The spread of the COVID-19 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 ‘arisings’ has resulted in very significant reductions to our business particularly a reduction in the number of contracted aircraft in Nigeria.

“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. 

“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 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,” the airline wrote.


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