Smartwings to fire 600 people
The largest Czech airline reacted to news that it would be provided with government loan guarantees worth CZK 800m by announcing the layoffs of 600 of its 2,500 employees. The purge will include not just administrative workers and stewardesses but pilots as well. The layoffs will come in waves beginning in July and continuing until next February. Smartwings, owned by a pair of wealthy Czechs together with a Chinese state conglomerate, is also the owner of the smaller ČSA airline. The company claims it needs a total cash injection of CZK 2bn, but the remainder is expected to be provided by the company's shareholders. "We're entering the most difficult period of our existence," said Smartwings chairman Jiří Šimáně. "In order to save the company, we have to carry out painful but unavoidable measures. The airline industry is facing the biggest crisis in its history and our duty is to do everything possible to ensure Smartwings stays in the market and ensure employment and a future for the largest possible number of our employees."