Sharjah-based low-cost carrier Air Arabia has become the latest airline to confirm that it has laid off staff due to the Covid-19 crisis.
“With continued lockdown of air travel and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic prevailing in the global aviation sector, we have unfortunately been forced to make a necessary decision to let go a section of our staff members across the organisation,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“Over the past months, we have been taking a series of steps to protect our staff and had to resort to the current restructuring as a last alternative.”
The exact number of employees laid off was not revealed and it was not clear which business segments were affected. The airline had laid off 57 staff in May, Reuters reported.
“As we continue to manage the lasting impact of Covid-19 on the industry while sustaining our business, we have kept the layoffs to the possible minimum,” the statement said.
“We are hopeful that the sector will gain traction sooner, upon which we will further strengthen our workforce.”
Airlines across the globe are cutting jobs after the pandemic forced lockdowns worldwide, practically grinding passenger traffic to a halt.
Dubai’s Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways have also confirmed redundancies in their organisations.
Kuwait Airways is also planning to lay off as many as 1,500 expatriate employees due to the impact of the pandemic, Bloomberg reported.
While airlines are slowly starting to resume services, the impact of the pandemic is expected to be massive.
Middle East airlines are forecast to face losses of up to $24bn in passenger revenue this year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Job losses in aviation and related industries could reach 1.2 million, it estimates.