airBaltic boss to decline wage during coronavirus crisis

The chairman and chief executive officer of Latvian airline airBaltic announced March 25 he would not be receiving any wages for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, reported LSM's Latvian language service.

German citizen Martin Gauss said: "From April onwards, until we can resume scheduled flights, I will give up my pay. Members of the board, as well as executives, have already voluntarily agreed to reduce their pay by 20 percent," Gauss said.

Gauss is among the best-paid executives in the Baltic states. His official annual income statement for 2018 showed that he earned 1,300,000 euro, up 12.2% from 2017. 

Of this, 578,490 was airBaltic remuneration, which was 0.1% less than in 2017. Gauss also received nearly 670,000 in bonuses, up 22% from a year earlier, according to information from LETA.

Though his pay level has sometimes attracted criticism, he is also widely credited with turning the airline's fortunes around, having taken the job with airBaltic mired in scandal and controversy and on the verge of collapse.

As previously reported by LSM, airBaltic canceled a total of 580 flights between March 9 and May 31 due to the coronavirus and has temporarily laid off about 400 employees as a resultThe company had a total of 1,786 employees.

The Latvian state owns 80.05 % of airBaltic shares. In recent days the airline has played an important role in helping hundreds of Latvians return home on special repatriation flights.


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