Qatar Airways, like many airlines, has struggled to stay afloat during the current pandemic. This has forced it to introduce pay cuts and make several redundancies. Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, offered hope to the carrier’s employees this week when he said that the pay cuts will be reversed once flying demand returns.
Job priority to be given to laid-off staff
Qatar Airways is currently operating just 35% of its pre-crisis schedule. Akbar Al Baker told Sky News in an interview this week that he is hopeful this will increase over the next few months. The Chief Executive hopes that the airline will resume 75% of its pre-COVID-19 schedule in the next four to eight weeks, as airports around the world begin to open.
The airline made substantial staff redundancies to help deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Al Baker offered some hope to those who had suffered job losses this week. He said,
“We will give priority to the people that we laid off to come back and again serve at Qatar Airways.”
He also added that the airline had laid-off as few people as possible and that the salary cuts that had been implemented were not very severe. In addition, he said that as soon as air traffic returned to pre-2019 levels, then salaries would begin to increase.
“We will eventually ramp up everybody’s salary cuts that we have implemented and the salary cuts that we are implementing is not very extreme,”
Pilots to be included in job cuts
While the Qatar Airways Chief Executive talked about ramping up wages post-coronavirus, fresh reports have surfaced of job cuts taking place. Bloomberg reported this week that foreign pilots and flight-deck crew are set to see some redundancies and pay cuts of up to 25%.
Bloomberg stated they had seen a letter to flight deck crew from Chief Flight Operations Officer Jassim Al-Haroon dated June 4th. The letter noted that the basic pay of two senior pilot grades will be reduced by a quarter. In addition, junior aviators can expect to see a 15% decrease in their salary. The measures won’t apply to Qatari nationals.
This news comes as Akbar Al Baker said that the airline would not be taking any new aircraft this year or next as the carrier plans to downsize its fleet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Qatar Airways flew 50 million km
Despite job cuts and plans to reduce its fleet, Qatar Airways has become the world’s largest international carrier during the pandemic. Throughout March, April, and May, the airline flew 50 million km. More than 15,000 flights covered this distance. The airline also repatriated more than 1.8 million passengers.
It is our mission to take people home in the midst of these challenging times, and this is clearly reflected in @IATA’s International Traffic figures that show our statistics are triple the next ranked airline. #QatarAirways pic.twitter.com/0316WJlPSb
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) June 17, 2020
According to data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Qatar Airways increased its share of the global passenger airline market to 17.8% in April. This was three times that of its nearest competitor and more than the next four airlines combined.