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Fiji Time: 4:11 PM on Monday 22 September

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Airline sends 85 home

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DOMESTIC carrier Pacific Sun is sending home 85 of its employees in a move designed to centralise and streamline operations.

Pacific Sun management will be meeting with affected staff over the next few days and consulting with elected union representatives until January 31 next year.

According to the airline, the centralisation process would result in the creation of up to 29 new jobs at Air Pacific, the domestic carrier's parent company. These new vacancies will be open to employees of both airlines.

In a statement released yesterday, the airline said the redundancies would be from Pacific Sun's administrative, support and operations areas.

Announcing the news to staff at Pacific Sun's headquarters in Nadi, general manager Jim Samson, explained that continuing operating losses had resulted in management having to make some tough decisions.

"Pacific Sun has lost, on average, $6 million per year over the last three years. Continued losses are unsustainable. Regrettably as a result, we have no alternative but to restructure the airline in order to ensure its viability and success going forward," he said.

Air Pacific chief executive officer and Pacific Sun board member David Pflieger said since Air Pacific's takeover in 2007, Pacific Sun has accumulated $18.5million in losses. Air Pacific had loaned $44million to purchase Sun Air's certificate and operations and two ATR-42 aircraft.

The recent cessation of flights to Mana and Malolo Islands and grounding of Britten Norman Islander aircraft were also part of the airline's restructure process.

The press release by Pacific Sun also stated that while it was not required by law or individual or union contracts, those affected by the redundancy will be offered three months severance pay to assist with retraining and job search efforts.

According to Mr Pflieger, the restructure and redundancies were necessary to centralise support and operations functions and eliminate duplication, enhance efficiencies and reduce costs.


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