Jazeera Airways slashes staff to cut cost following COVID-19 impact

- A Monitor Desk Report 04 May, 2020 | 770 Views|-+
Dhaka: Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways has laid off over a third of its staff following the impact of the coronavirus and can dip into its cash reserves to get through the crisis, Marwan Boodai, Chairman of the airline said.

Governments around the world are supporting airlines crushed by the outbreak that has virtually halted international travel.

Kuwait suspended all commercial flight operations on March 13 as the Gulf Arab state rolled out restrictions to control the spread of the virus that has now infected 4,983 people and killed 38 in the country.

Hammered by the impact, Jazeera, one of the region’s few listed airlines, has laid off 320 employees, including cabin crew, ground staff and support staff, or 37 per cent of its workforce to cut cost and survive the crisis.

“We kept only the sufficient number to run the current situation,” Marwan Boodai said in a statement.

“We hope that there will be an opportunity to re-employ them again in the coming months and we hope they will return,” he added.

Boodai cautioned the airline could report a loss for this year but said it was able to draw on its USD 97 million of cash reserves for up to the next 27 months if needed. It has not sought state aid, he said, and executive staff have voluntarily taken a 50 per cent pay cut.

The airline has been generating some revenue operating government flights for Kuwaiti citizens returning from abroad.

Boodai said he expected regional airports to start reopening from July though did not expect lift to return to normal for six months to a year.

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