Qatar Airways Staff Taking Half-Salaries Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Qatar Airways
Credit: Joe Pries

Senior and mid-ranking Qatar Airways staff are being asked to forego 50% of their salaries over coming months, with the promise that the deferred portion will be paid to them as soon as the airline is in a position to do so.

Like all airlines, the Qatari carrier has been seeking to reduce or defer expenses as much as possible amid the COVID-19 crisis. In what it described as a “solidarity program,” the flag-carrier’s Doha-based mid-level and senior staff have agreed to defer 50% of their basic monthly salary. Beginning April 2020, the measure is expected to last for three months and will be kept under review depending on the economic situation.

“The entire team at Qatar Airways has worked incredibly hard to take people home over the past few weeks,” Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said. “The company will credit salary back as soon as possible when circumstances allow. Many other work groups overseas and across all job levels have also offered to take voluntary salary deferrals in solidarity with their colleagues.”

With passenger services at a low ebb, the airline has switched emphasis to cargo flights and is operating almost 100 flights per day. During the past month the airline said it had transported more than 70,000 tonnes of medical and aid supplies on both scheduled and charter services—the equivalent of roughly 700 fully-loaded Boeing 777 freighters. To continue to fulfill demand the group’s cargo division is also utilizing passenger aircraft to carry freight-only to destinations in China, Europe, India and the Middle East.

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.