The national carrier will be laying off thousands of employees in the upcoming months due to pandemic challenges.
Qatar Airways’ Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker said more job cuts are expected in the upcoming months as the airline industry continues to struggle with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
al-Baker did however say that he expects the industry to start gradually recovering again and once that happens, priority for re-hiring will be given to those Qatar Airways employees who were laid-off due to the impact of COVID-19.
In an interview aired on Qatar TV, the official said that the company has laid off over 11 thousand employees due to the challenges that came with the pandemic, and he expects “several thousand more employees” to also be laid off.
“Every single airline has laid off people in very large numbers because large amounts of the fleet has been grounded. When you look at [it] proportionality on Qatar Airways, we have done the minimum reduction,” al-Baker said in the interview. “We have done a reduction of 15%, which will go up to 20%,” he added.
The airline’s CEO said that the unfortunate decision comes due to the uncertainty of air travel given the pandemic, especially that several airports are suspending flights in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.
“We have to take mitigating action to let our airline survive and to make sure that the remaining people that are in the company are looked after,” he explained.
“Also when it comes to taking cuts on the salaries of employees that are existing in the airline, we have done the most minimum of any other airlines.”
However, al-Baker said that when the carrier is ready to start recruiting people to ramp up its network, those who were laid-off will be given priority.
“We will re-recruit people that we laid off…we will give the people that we laid off due to the pandemic the first priority when we start re-recruiting employees to serve this increased network of Qatar Airways,” he said.
Currently, Qatar Airways is operating nearly 80% of its fleet despite COVID-19, with the airline even expanding its destinations gradually.
But dispute this, the recruitment process is yet to be announced as the company continues to lay off more employees.
This week, the country’s premier airline announced that it will be transporting animals back to their natural habitat, free of charge as part of its “Rewild the Planet,” the second chapter of an initiative committed to preserving wildlife and endangered animals.