Transport: Tunisair cuts personnel to avoid crisis

1,700 over a total of 8,500 to be cut in two years

07 January, 12:50

(ANSAmed) - Tunis, January 7 - The management of debt-stricken Tunisian air carrier Tunisair is preparing to implement a plan to tackle a crisis which started in the months following the revolution in spite of a growing number of passengers.

The crisis, said the airline's President and Director General Ranah Jrad, is mostly due to the cost of personnel - 8,500 workers - which is considered too high for a company which is strongly penalized by its old planes and has too few resources for a renewal plan that would make it more competitive. A first step will be to cut down the number of workers by 1,700 units, 20% of the total. The first consequences of this bi-annual plan (2013-2014) will become effective in the coming months when 329 workers who are retiring will not be replaced. The management of Tunisair has said the company could be hiring workers for short periods of time if necessary. According to Jrad, the measures will enable the company to save 165 million euros which, together with the growth in the number of passengers in 2012, could open a positive new phase. Unions however are gearing up for battle and have accused the state of not holding dear the future of Tunisair as proven by the recent concession to Qatar Airways of favourable conditions at the international airport of Tunis.

The Tunisian airline is planning to boost connections in the African continent and will soon inaugurate a flight connecting Tunisia to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burkina Faso. The airline will however need more capital which Jdar said will be brought from the current 53 million euros to 90 million - an announcement which seems to imply the arrival of a strategic partner given that the state, the company's main shareholder, is debt-stricken. (ANSAmed).

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