Stung by virus, long-haul carrier Qatar Airways cuts jobs

23 May 2020 1:20 PM
Long-haul carrier Qatar Airways said on Wednesday it'll lay off staff as the coronavirus pandemic largely has grounded the global aviation industry.

The Doha-based carrier offered no figures for the number of employees who will be let go by the carrier, among the three major airlines in the Persian Gulf region created to capitalize on East-West travel. However, an emailed memo from the airline's CEO that leaked online said the quantity would be "substantial" you need to include members of its cabin crew.

Qatar Airways sent a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday confirming the layoffs.

"The unparalleled effect on our industry has caused significant challenges for all airlines and we should act decisively to safeguard the future of our business," the statement said.

Both Qatar Airways and Al Baker said the airline hoped to rehire staff quickly once global aviation emerges from the pandemic. Later Wednesday, the airline said it hoped to grow around 30 routes still flying to over 50 by the end of May and 80 by the end of June. Prior to the pandemic, the airline said it flew to over 160 destinations a day.

Qatar Airways, which started flying in 1994, includes a fleet of over 200 aircraft that it flies out of Doha's recently built Hamad International Airport. It competes with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Dubai-based Emirates, two other state-owned airlines now facing the dire monetary situation due to the coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.

Because the pandemic, Qatar Airways like other Gulf airlines has flown repatriation flights, in addition to stepped up its cargo operations. However the pandemic has chewed away the aviation industry to the idea that Emirates President Tim Clark warned in a recently available conference call that "85% of all airlines will be insolvent within several months" without government assistance.

Qatar Airways already faced challenges prior to the pandemic. In 2017, a group of four Arab countries, like the United Arab Emirates, started out a boycott Doha over a political dispute that continues today, affecting the airline's capability to reach essential markets and fly over those nations.

Qatar is a little, energy-rich nation on the Arabian Peninsula that juts out just like a thumb in to the Persian Gulf. The united states houses the vast Al-Udeid Air Base, hosts some 10,000 American troops and may be the forward headquarters of the U.S. military's Central Command.

In Lebanon, 25 new coronavirus infections were confirmed among citizens who arrived on a plane from Nigeria on Wednesday, the country's state-run National News Agency reported.

Lebanon, which includes around 750 confirmed cases, has constantly reported low numbers of new infections during the past two weeks, but authorities warn the ongoing repatriation as high as 20,000 Lebanese time for the country might lead to a setback.

On Monday, Lebanon commenced easing lockdown restrictions set up since mid-March, allowing some businesses, including restaurants and hair salons, to reopen at 30% capacity.

Lebanon's interior minister also announced Wednesday that churches and mosques will be permitted to welcome worshippers on Sundays and Fridays so long as they do so at limited capacity while respecting social distancing and other safety guidelines.

Lebanon has been hit by crippling monetary and financial crisis which has only deepened in the wake of the nationwide virus lockdown.

The American University of Beirut, one of the oldest & most prestigious universities in the Middle East, became the most recent institution in Lebanon to announce it was facing a crisis because of what it said was a "confluence of calamities" you start with the collapse of the Lebanese economy, compounded by the pandemic.

It said staff would endure significant pay reductions and that steps under consideration include furloughs as well as the closure of some programs and departments.