COVID-19

Flight Attendants ‘Will Lose Jobs’, If Found Guilty

Fiji Airways chief executive officer Andre Viljoen says selfish actions of a few will not be taken lightly.
26 Mar 2020 10:25
Flight Attendants ‘Will Lose Jobs’, If Found Guilty
Fiji Airways managing director and chief executive officer Andre Viljoen.

The Fiji Airways flight attendants who are alleged to have breached self-quarantine protocols will lose their jobs if found guilty.

That’s the message from the airline’s chief executive officer, Andre Viljoen, in a memo that was sent to all Fiji Airways staff after the allegations were aired live on national TV yesterday by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at a press conference in Suva.

The Fiji Airways staff members are alleged to have been “sharing grog and interacting with their friends and caregivers from outside the quarantine area.”

The internal memo by Mr Viljoen expressed disappointment concerning the allegation saying they would give Police “every assistance required”.

Mr Viljoen said in the memo: “But I share the disappointment and embarrassment that most members of our Fiji Airways family are feeling today. We have communicated to our teams, on the need for everyone to do their part. We have implemented onboard safety guidelines, provided personal protective equipment, emphasised the need to keep our customers and yourselves safe. We have supported, directed, instructed and briefed those on the frontlines.

“I’m disappointed beyond measure, to hear that these instructions may have been disregarded. I know that these are difficult times, but it applies to everyone, not just a select few. We have colleagues in Lautoka right now in the confinement zone, unable to get to work.

“Let me be very clear about this, and reiterate the words of our Prime Minister. Fiji Airways will return to the skies once this crisis is over. But if you flaunt Government directives or internal Fiji Airways Safety rules, you will not! Like any other breaches of company policies, you will be taken to task. And if found guilty after due process, you will have no place in the National Airline. This includes any breaches in the past two weeks and any in the future.

Mr Viljoen also thanked other colleagues who were strictly complying saying their care and responsibility made them proud.

“Colleagues, we have selfless pilots and cabin crew who continue to operate recovery flights to return stranded citizens to their homes and bring Fijians back. We have airport personnel, we have Fiji Link who continue to operate and serve customers. All this good work, all these responsible actions by almost one thousand five hundred members of the Fiji Airways family, are tarnished by the actions of just a handful. Look at the beating that our once-proud standing in the community is taking,” Mr Viljoen said.

“Our focus, my focus, in the past few weeks as this crisis grew, has been to ensure Fiji Airways survives in a world where many other airlines will not. To save jobs when many are already letting people go. Just look around our own region. I have spoken at length every single time about what Fiji Airways means to the nation and its economy.

“We have a lot of work to do, starting right now, to restore the faith that the Fijian people and our customers have in Fiji Airways.

“We can, and we will do this. I ask you for your help and support as we rise from this. Because we are stronger together.”

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho confirmed he received information about the alleged incident.

“Their alleged activities and actions will be investigated and if they’re found to be in breach they will face the consequences of their selfish and reckless behaviour,” the commissioner said.

“The selfish actions of a few people that could possibly harm and endanger the lives of other Fijians will not be taken lightly.”

It is understood that these flight attendants live within the Lautoka confined area. Since they cannot return to their homes and families, the company billeted them at a hotel.

It was business as usual when the Fiji Sun visited the hotel yesterday.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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