The Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) is the latest company in the country’s aviation industry to embark on massive lay-offs of its employees.

ACSA has confirmed that it has decided to offer some of its employees Voluntary Severance Packages.

ACSA is a State Owned Entity (SEO) that manages nine major airports around the country.

Like the rest of the aviation industry, it has been severely affected by the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on air travel since the outbreak of the pandemic early last year.

The company is yet to announce details of the move but unions say as many as 500 jobs are on the line.

“A VSP is equal to job loss and a job loss is going to affect the community. Workers are going to suffer because it’s going to take time for this industry to come up again,” says General-Secretary of Dynamic People’s Union of SA, Mashudu Raphetha.

The Labour Force | ACSA to lay-off hundreds of employees: Mashudu Raphetha

In October, ACSA reported a revenue loss of R2.6 billion for the last 12 months from a R1.2 billion profit in the previous financial year.

CEO Mpumi Mpofu says ACSA’s passenger figures for the year fell by 78 percent from 21 million to 4.6 million. Total air traffic movements declined by 60 percent. This is only the second loss reported by the company in its 28-year history.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been the worst we’ve seen with its devastating impact on the global economy and particularly its adverse impact on ACSA and our performance. We moved very quickly in response, to implement cost reduction initiatives which included reduction of our CAPEX and differing of key programs, headcount rationalisation through voluntary severance packages and early retirements. Disposing of our assets in Brazil and India,” Mpofu said.