Kuwait Airways to sack 1,500 foreign employees amid COVID-19 crisis

- A Monitor Desk Report 30 May, 2020 | 967 Views|-+
Dhaka: Kuwait Airways will lay off 1,500 foreign workers while the airline suffers from significant financial losses following the coronavirus pandemic.

The state-owned airline, which employs about 7,000 people, said in a statement on May 28 that the lay-offs were " in response to the emerging coronavirus crisis and its negative impact" on sales.

It further stated that the lay-offs would only affect non-Kuwaiti employees, adding that the cuts were taking place across the company.

The move comes as part of a "comprehensive plan" to deal with the pandemic's economic impacts, which have caused "significant difficulties".

The carrier was already dealing with a financial crisis before the pandemic began crushing airlines around the world, with reports stating company losses of USD 435 million in January for 2019.

Kuwait, like its oil-rich neighbors in the Gulf, has been severely hit by both a slump in oil revenue and the economic impact of coronavirus, which has grounded almost all Middle East flights.

Recently, only repatriation flights have been in operation, about 200 of them during the past two months to bring home 30,000 Kuwaitis.

As a state-owned company, Kuwait Airways' losses are covered by the government, which has yet to announce a stimulus plan for the airline industry.

Last month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that the airline industry in the Middle East was likely to see a USD 19 billion (39 per cent) loss in revenue.

The group also warned that the region's aviation shutdown has threatened 1.2 million jobs.

Private companies in Kuwait have fired hundreds of employees, but the airline is the first government-run company to take such an action.

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