Members of the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFÍ) have approved the newest contract negotiated between the Association and Icelandair, RÚV reports. FFÍ’s members rejected two previous contracts in a months-long, tense negotiation process. The Association’s director says Icelandair’s executives will need to work hard to rebuild trust among cabin crew.
“It’s pretty clear that Icelandair’s directors have a big project on their hands, that is to rebuild trust,” Guðlaug Líney Jóhannsdóttir, FFÍ’s chairperson, stated in a television interview last night. Following months of increasingly tense negotiations and two failed attempts, Icelandair announced it was firing all of its flight attendants on July 17 to seek a contract with “another party within the Icelandic labour market.” Icelandair then asked its pilots to step in and take over cabin crew duties while it searched for new staff.
FFÍ requested to meet with Icelandair the following day, however, and by early morning on July 19, a new contract between the two parties had been hammered out. That contract, valid until 2025, has now been approved by the association’s members.
“The key point in this is that these contracts that were approved today ensure the company’s competitiveness and flexibility and safeguard the working conditions of Icelandair’s flight attendants,” stated Bogi Nils Bogason, Icelandair’s CEO. He expected the company would employ around 200 flight attendants in August and September – there were over 900 working for the company in April. Rehiring decisions will be based on seniority and performance, Bogi stated.
Large Losses for Icelandair in Second Quarter
Icelandair lost ISK 12.3 billion ($19.8 million/€77.6 million) in the second quarter of 2020, according to the quarterly results submitted by the company to Nasdaq Iceland. The airline’s flights dropped by 97% and their passenger numbers by 98% during the quarter. The company has reported ISK 45 billion ($332 million/€284 million) in losses in the first half of this year, around ISK 30 billion of which are attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the spring, Icelandair continued to operate minimal flights to and from Iceland, primarily to Boston, London, and Stockholm, with the help of government funding. Its current flight schedule, valid until August 30, includes 22 destinations in Europe, the US, and Canada.
Icelandair plans to make a public stock offering in August as part of the financial restructuring of the company. Executives aim to conclude negotiations with investors this week.