May 29, 2020 07:39 UTC
  • Kuwait Airways to cut jobs due to coronavirus, lay off 1,500 expat workers

The state-owned Kuwait Airways says it will lay off 1,500 expatriate employees due to “significant difficulties” and the negative impact on its business by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Press TV, the loss-making national carrier, which has a total of some 6,925 employees, has struggled amid the regional and worldwide downturn in air travel.

“In dealing with the coronavirus crisis and its negative impact on commercial operations ... Kuwait Airways announces the termination of around 1,500 non-Kuwaiti employees,” the airline said on Twitter on Thursday.

It said the decision comes as part of a “comprehensive plan” to deal with the pandemic's economic impacts which meant the company is facing "significant difficulties."

Kuwait, like other oil-rich Persian Gulf littoral states, has been severely hit by a slump in oil revenues and the economic impacts of coronavirus.

Kuwait Airways, which has a fleet of 30 aircraft, has been mostly grounded like almost all airlines in the Middle East due to the massive lockdowns.

It, however, operated over 200 flights in late April and early May to repatriate some 30,000 Kuwaiti citizens from abroad.

The carrier's losses are paid by the government, which has not yet announced any special compensation.

Last month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast that air traffic in West Asia and North Africa is set to tumble by more than a half.

IATA said that MENA airlines' revenues in 2020 will be slashed by $24.5 billion compared to last year, and warned the region's aviation shutdown threatened some 1.2 million jobs.