Air Seychelles (HM, Mahé) has begun a voluntary redundancy scheme, primarily targetting employees aged 55 and over, as it reevaluates its workforce to better sustain the debt-stricken carrier’s operations in the long term, the Seychelles News Agency has reported.

Staff members younger than 55 are also welcome to come forward, the company said.

Air Seychelles’ debt crisis has been the subject of many discussions in the executive and legislative branches of government in recent months. As previously reported, the Indian Ocean archipelago nation’s finance minister, Naadir Hassan, revealed in his budget address on February 16 that the company currently owes more than USD152.8 million.

Staff members have now been given two weeks to apply for voluntary redundancy by submitting an application letter to their respective department.

They will receive as part of the exit package three months’ basic pay based on their February salary, one month’s full salary, compensation depending on length of service, accrued annual leave pay for 2021, and an unlimited supplementary ticket for the staff member and immediate family for two years.

An Air Seychelles spokeswoman elaborated that before any redundancy is approved the company will analyse it first, “because there are people with the required skill set who the company will still need to ensure business continuity.”

The carrier last downsized its staff in spring 2018, when 174 employees, including nearly 100 cabin crew, were sacked as a part of a restructuring drive as a result of turbulence within Etihad Aviation Group, which owns 40% of the company. Those cuts affected almost a quarter of the workforce, which then numbered around 800 employees.