Qatar Airways lays off around 200 staff as coronavirus cuts air travel

Philippine labor secretary Silvestre Bello said around 200 Filipinos were unexpectedly laid off by Qatar Airways, and officials were determining what caused their termination. (AFP)
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Updated 18 March 2020

Qatar Airways lays off around 200 staff as coronavirus cuts air travel

  • Coronavirus outbreak forces the Middle East carrier to slash flights

MANILA/DUBAI: Qatar Airways unexpectedly laid off about 200 Filipino staff in Qatar this week as the coronavirus outbreak forces the Middle East airline to slash flights, Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello told Reuters on Wednesday.

“Our labor attaché is under strict instructions to determine what is the real cause of the decision of management to retrench them on the basis of redundancy,” he told Reuters.

Qatar Airways did not respond to a request for comment.

The layoffs were reported earlier by ABS-CBN. It said the Filipino employees, including engineers and maintenance staff, were laid off on Tuesday.

The report said other employees also lost their jobs, though did not provide further details.

State-owned Qatar Airways had warned it would report its third consecutive loss this financial year, which ends this month, before the outbreak battered global travel demand.

It is one of the Middle East’s biggest airlines and most of its traffic transits through its Doha hub. It does not operate domestic flights.

Qatar has enforced strict entry requirements to stop the spread of the disease which has infected 442 people in the Gulf Arab state. All foreigners are banned from entering and the airline has cut flights to several destinations.

The International Air Transport Association has said $200 billion in government support could be needed worldwide to support airlines.


Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

Updated 22 September 2020

Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

  • Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd – over 1 percent of global production – before the blockade
  • Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable

LONDON: Libya’s National Oil Company said it expected oil production to rise to 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) next week, as the OPEC member looks to revive its oil industry, crippled by a blockade since January.
Oil prices fell around 5 percent on Monday, partly due to the potential return of Libyan barrels to a market that’s already grappling with the prospect of collapsing demand from rising coronavirus cases.
Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd — over 1 percent of global production — before the blockade, which slashed the OPEC member’s output to around 100,000 bpd.
NOC, in a statement late on Monday, said it is preparing to resume exports from “secure ports” with oil tankers expected to begin arriving from Wednesday to load crude in storage over the next 72 hours.
As an initial step, exports are set to resume from the Marsa El Hariga and Brega oil terminals, it said.
The Marlin Shikoku tanker is making its way to Hariga where it is expected to load a cargo for trader Unipec, according to shipping data and traders.
Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said last week his forces would lift their eight-month blockade of oil exports.
NOC insists it will only resume oil operations at facilities devoid of military presence.
Nearly a decade after rebel fighters backed by NATO air strikes overthrew dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya remains in chaos, with no central government.
The unrest has battered its oil industry, slashing production capacity down from 1.6 million bpd.
Goldman Sachs said Libya’s return should not derail the oil market’s recovery, with an upside risk to production likely to be offset by higher compliance with production cuts from other OPEC members.
“We see both logistical and political risks to a fast and sustainable increase in production,” the bank said. It expects a 400,000 bpd increase in Libyan production by December.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, are closely watching the Libya situation, waiting to see if this time Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable, sources told Reuters.