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Friday, March 5, 2021

Qatar Airways remains upbeat as Gulf rivals cut jobs

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By Victoria Scott

Qatar Airways 737 Max. Credit: Boeing

Hammered by overcapacity in the region, currency fluctuations and other issues, two major Gulf airlines this week have reported job losses amid budget cuts.

But bucking the trend, Qatar Airways has seen growth this year, and said it has “no news to share” on its financial situation.

Both Etihad and Emirates recently announced plans to cut costs by making thousands of employees redundant.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Chantelle D’mello/Doha News

But a spokesperson for Qatar Airways told Doha News that it will be adding new routes next year.

She also said that the airline recently put in a large aircraft order with Boeing, signaling the carrier’s continued expansion.

Qatar Airways is the second youngest of the Gulf big three, and the only one that grew in size in the first six months of this year, according to the CAPA Centre for Aviation.

Job losses

Over the summer, CAPA also reported that Etihad’s growth had begun to slow significantly.

The Abu Dhabi-based company told Bloomberg this week that to counter financial pressures, it was undertaking “organizational reviews and restructuring.”

This will help the airline reduce costs and improve productivity and revenue, but also result in “a measured reduction of headcount.”

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Clément Alloing/Flickr

According to Bloomberg, Etihad will cut up to 3,000 positions across several departments, including human resources, commercial sales, cabin crew and ground staff.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Emirates has also offered redundancies to staff working in accounting, finance, IT and other departments in its head office.

Emirates reported a 75 percent decline in half-year profits on Nov. 9.

Financial pressures

Though Qatar Airways is currently sitting pretty, this year has been a tricky one for all Gulf carriers.

Economic turmoil, passenger concerns about terrorist attacks and currency fluctuations have all piled on the pressure.

This has particularly been the case for routes to Europe, with a glut of empty seats leading to lower fares on Emirates and Etihad flights, according to The National.

Emirates A380. Credit: Mark Harkin / Flickr

Both airlines held large National Day sales this year that offered significant discounts. They are now continuing to sell fares at very competitive prices, the newspaper said.

However, a similar sale by Qatar Airways did not take place this year due to the cancelation of Qatar’s National Day celebrations.

That said, Qatar is set to launch its first-ever shopping festival on Jan. 7. Qatar Airways is a partner on the month-long event and will offer airfare discounts for it.

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