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Sabena announces major job losses

Sabena is to shed 1,600 jobs as it struggles to survive

(Keystone)

The Belgian airline Sabena, in which the Swissair Group has an almost 50 per cent stake, has announced it will cut 1,600 jobs or 12 per cent of its workforce as part of a plan to rescue the ailing carrier.

In a statement from Brussels on Thursday, Sabena said it would also sell off its catering, cargo handling and maintenance activities, slim down its aircraft fleet and cancel eight routes.

The announcement followed a second day during which the airline had to cancel many European flights as workers went on strike in protest at the threat of job losses, causing travel chaos.

The statement noted that Sabena had lost €138.9 million (SFr209.46 million) in the first six months of the year, compared with a loss of €83.6 million during the comparable period last year.

It added that it Sabena needed a "strong partner", but no other carrier was interested in making the investment.

Belgium owns a majority of Sabena and last month reached a financing agreement with the Swissair Group, which owns 49.5 per cent of the company, freeing Swissair from taking a controlling stake of 85 per cent.

Under the terms of the accord, Sabena will receive €430 million over two years, 60 per cent from the Swissair Group and the remainder from the Belgian government.

swissinfo with agencies


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