Carnival announces coronavirus layoffs, furloughs, salary reductions

Moves will save Carnival hundreds of millions of dollars per year, company says

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Carnival Corporation, the biggest cruise operator in the world, on Thursday announced layoffs, furloughs and salary reductions for its executives as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on the travel industry.

The Carnival and Princess Cruises parent closed all of its brands and cruise companies on March 13 as the U.S. began to implement stay-at-home policies and is now announcing a combination of changes across the company and its senior management, which will help it save hundreds of millions of dollars every year, according to a press release.

The company did not detail how many Carnival employees will be laid off or furloughed, what salary reductions will look like or when they will begin.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
CUKCARNIVAL PLC12.04-0.16-1.31%

"Taking these extremely difficult employee actions involving our highly dedicated workforce is a very tough thing to do," Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald said in a statement. "Unfortunately, it's necessary, given the current low level of guest operations and to further endure this pause."

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Donald added that the company looks forward to "the day when many of those impacted are returning to work with us," and the day its ships and crew "can be there for the many nations and millions of people who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood."

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Fewer than 38 percent of Carnival customers affected by COVID-19 cruise schedule changes have requested ticket refunds, highlighting the possibility that many customers may want to put credits for canceled trips toward future trips rather than get refunded, the release said.

Carnival has said eight ships will resume operations from Miami, Port Canaveral, Florida and Galveston, Texas, starting Aug. 1.

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The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is launching an investigation into Carnival Corporation's response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a letter sent to Carnival CEO Arnold Donald earlier this month.

"Our Committee, the U.S. Congress, and the American public need to be assured that the global cruise line industry, and Carnival Corporation & PLC in particular, are instituting necessary measures to ensure that the safety of the traveling public and crew members will be your number one priority when your ships set sail again," committee chairman Peter DeFazio wrote.

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The committee is asking Carnival for all documents related to the cruise line's coronavirus response, including a copy of the fleet-wide outbreak prevention and response plans, as well as any correspondence specifically related to the pandemic. They have requested that Carnival begin turning over the documents by May 15.

A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Line previously confirmed to FOX Business that the committee's letter has been received and said the company will "fully cooperate."

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FOX Business' Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.