LONDON: A Qatar Airways flight comes in to land at Heathrow airport in west London.—AFP

DOHA: Qatar Airways will slash some pilots’ salaries and make others redundant to offset the revenue collapse caused by the novel coronavirus travel crisis, it said in a memo seen by AFP Monday.

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 the COVID-19 disease. The International Air Transport Association warned in April that air traffic in the Middle East and North Africa would plummet by more than half this year.

Qatar Airways’ most senior pilots “will be subjected to a 25 percent reduction” in salaries, chief flight operations officer Jassim Al-Haroon wrote to pilots in a memo dated June 4. “In the upcoming weeks many of our captains, senior first officers, first officers and cadet pilots will be made redundant,” Haroon wrote, without specifying how many would be let go.

More junior pilots will face an immediate 15 percent cut to their salaries, although the measures will not be applied to the airline’s Qatari pilots, the memo added. The airline warned cabin crew at the start of May that they faced “substantial” job losses. 

“It’s very gloomy. Communication hasn’t been clear—we don’t know if this will be the last reduction or if there will be more,” said one pilot, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity. 

“Without a union, they can do what they want to our contracts.” At the worst point of the novel coronavirus travel crisis, the airline had to slash its passenger services to just 35 destinations. It has since begun to resume some mothballed routes. The economy of super-wealthy gas exporter Qatar has been buffeted by the global economic downturn and associated energy price collapse caused by the pandemic. Doha-based sports broadcaster BeIN will shed around 100 jobs and cut some salaries in response to the virus downturn and the fallout from piracy of its output, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

“We have started a limited redundancy program in relation to our Middle East and North Africa business—which will be as limited as possible, while securing our long-term future,” BeIN said in a statement, adding that further details could not be provided as consultations were ongoing. – AFP