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Kuwait Airways to lay off 1,500 foreign staff amid coronavirus travel slump

Kuwait Airways is state-owned [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 May, 2020

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Kuwait Airways is laying off a quarter of its workforce as coronavirus piles pressure on the aviation industry.

State-owned Kuwait Airways is firing 25 percent of its workforce, all of whom are foreign workers as the coronavirus crisis continues to impact business.

According to local newspaper al-Qabas, Kuwait Airways is planning to lay off 1,500 employees.

Kuwaitis, employees married to Kuwaitis and those who hold citizenship of other Gulf Cooperation Council countries will not be affected by the job cuts, the newspaper said.

Airlines across the world have resorted to sacking staff as the novel coronavirus takes its toll on the aviation industry.

Read also: Can Gulf countries survive without their foreign workers post-pandemic?

Earlier this month, Qatar Airways warned its employees of "substantial" redundancies amid a collapse in demand for air travel caused by the coronavirus.

The Gulf airline, which flew to more than 170 destinations with 234 aircraft as of March, has been hit by airport closures and travel bans imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The International Air Transport Association warned last month that air traffic in the Middle East and North Africa would plummet by more than half this year.

"The truth is, we simply cannot sustain the current staff numbers and will need to make a substantial number of jobs redundant - inclusive of cabin crew," Qatar Airways chief executive Abkar al-Baker wrote in a memo to cabin crew.

The note did not specify how many of its more than 30,000 staff were at risk of redundancy, although the airline has had to slash its passenger services to just 35 destinations.

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