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Garuda Indonesia fires 135 pilots as Q1 sales seen falling one-third

Struggling national airline makes further cuts after furloughing 800

CEO Irfan Setiaputra announced that Garuda Indonesia has fired 135 contract pilots.    © Reuters

JAKARTA -- Indonesia's flagship carrier Garuda Indonesia has fired 135 contract pilots as demand for flights tumble due to lockdowns and travel bans amid the coronavirus outbreak, Nikkei has learned. 

Those fired represent nearly 10% of its 1,400 staff and contract pilots, who are employed via agencies. CEO Irfan Setiaputra announced on Tuesday that Garuda would end the contracts of these pilots ahead of time.

He did not disclose how many pilots would be affected, but a company source revealed the number and that most of the 135 were aged 60 and above. Local media had reported that Garuda would fire 700 pilots, but the source told Nikkei that there was "no such plan."

Garuda Indonesia is expected to post a 33% decline in revenue in the January-March quarter after the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to cut flights significantly. Revenue is expected to further deteriorate in the April-June quarter. 

The company has already furloughed 800 contract workers from mid-May for three months. 

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