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31 Aug 2020

Foreign workers at Turkish Airlines threatened with dismissal amid covid-19 and rampant labour "nationalisation" strategies

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Turkey has floated proposals that would require its airlines to ax foreign pilots and cabin crew before dismissing local workers as the coronavirus crisis shatters travel demand and destroys jobs.

The Ankara-based Directorate General of Civil Aviation, or SHGM, has written to 10 operators including flag-carrier Turkish Airlines seeking their opinions on the plan, according to a copy of the letter seen by Bloomberg News.

The localization drive comes as airlines worldwide cut tens of thousands of jobs amid a slump in flights that’s expected to last for years. Turkish carriers had previously recruited large numbers of expatriates amid a travel boom, with the proportion of overseas crew reaching 11%, the SHGM said in the letter.

Pegasus Chief Executive Officer Mehmet Nane played down the impact for his carrier, saying by phone that only around 100 of its 6,000 staff are from overseas.

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre has approached Turkish Airlines for a response. The company did not respond.