In an internal letter to staff by Taiwan’s China Airlines (CAL) earlier this week, the global carrier offered a glimpse into how the travel industry is responding to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
A report quoting the letter as released by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) had airline management referring to the crisis and its effects on the airline as similar to an “avalanche”.
Around 10,000 airline employees received the letter that went on to ask for the “understanding and cooperation” of staff should the crisis worsen and measures taken for the sake of protecting the company be required.
Those in management positions at CAL have already had pay cuts of 10% with employees across the company requested to take leave whilst things are quiet.
According to the CNA report over 5000 flights during March and April have been directly affected with around 3000 flights cancelled outright in March and another 2100 flights set to be affected in April – totaling 49% and 33% of each month’s total flight itinerary.
The airline reportedly also asked its staff to understand that “even when the epidemic ends, the company will need more time than before to recover.”
Staff of CAL’s major rival, EVA Air are also being affected with employees encouraged to be absent from work amidst the lull in domestic and international travel caused by COVID-19, and reports indicate that EVA have asked for the government to step in to help alleviate pressure on the aviation industry at this time.