Kuwait Airways to lay off 1,500 foreign employees

Kuwait Airways said it would lay off 1,500 expatriate employees due to “significant difficulties” caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (File: Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 29 May 2020

Kuwait Airways to lay off 1,500 foreign employees

  • Gulf aviation sector hit hard as long haul travel hubs feel bigger impact from lockdowns

KUWAIT CITY: State-owned Kuwait Airways said it would lay off 1,500 expatriate employees due to “significant difficulties” caused by the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.

The loss-making national carrier, which has a total of 6,925 employees, has struggled amid the regional and worldwide downturn in air travel.

“In dealing with the coronavirus crisis and its negative impact on commercial operations ... Kuwait Airways announces the termination of around 1,500 non-Kuwaiti employees (contracts)” the airline said on Twitter.

It said the decision came as part of a “comprehensive plan” to deal with the pandemic’s economic impacts which meant the company is facing “significant difficulties.”

Kuwait, like other oil-rich Gulf states, has been severely hit by a slump in oil revenues and the economic impacts of coronavirus.

Kuwait Airways, which has a fleet of 30 aircraft, has been mostly grounded like almost all airlines in the Middle East due to lockdowns.

It did, however, operate over 200 flights in late April and early May to repatriate some 30,000 Kuwaiti citizens from abroad.

The carrier’s losses are paid by the government, which has not yet announced any special compensation.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast last month that air traffic in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was set to tumble by more than a half.

The IATA said that the MENA  region’s airlines’ revenues in 2020 would be slashed by $24.5 billion compared to last year, and warned that the area’s aviation shutdown threatened some 1.2 million jobs.

Private companies in Kuwait have fired hundreds of employees  in the past few weeks, but Kuwait Airways is the first government agency to take such action.

The Kuwait Municipality has said it would soon sack at least half of its 900 expatriate employees.

Around 3.4 million foreigners live and work in Kuwait, making up some 70 percent of the Gulf state’s population.


Oil giants’ production cuts come to 1m bpd as they post massive write-downs

Updated 10 August 2020

Oil giants’ production cuts come to 1m bpd as they post massive write-downs

  • Crude output worldwide dropped sharply after the market crashed in April

LONDON: The world’s five largest oil companies collectively cut the value of their assets by nearly $50 billion in the second quarter, and slashed production rates as the coronavirus pandemic caused a drastic fall in fuel prices and demand.

The dramatic reductions in asset valuations and decline in output show the depth of the pain in the second quarter. Fuel demand at one point was down by more than 30 percent worldwide.

Several executives said they took massive write-downs because they expect demand to remain impaired for several more quarters as people travel less and use less fuel due to the ongoing global pandemic.

Of those five companies, only Exxon Mobil did not book sizeable impairments. But an ongoing reevaluation of its plans could lead to a “significant portion” of its assets being impaired, it reported, and signal the elimination of 20 percent or 4.4 billion barrels of its oil and gas reserves.

By contrast, BP took a $17 billion hit. It said it plans to recenter its spending in coming years around renewables and less on oil and natural gas.

Weak demand means oil producers must revisit business plans, said Lee Maginniss, managing director at consultants Alarez & Marsal. He said the goal should be to pump only what generates cash in excess of overhead costs.

“It’s low-cost production mode through the end of 2021 for sure, and to 2022 to the extent there are new development plans being contemplated,” Maginniss said.

London-based BP has previously said it plans to cut its overall output by roughly 1 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOEPD) by the end of 2030 from its current 3.6 million BOEPD.

Of the five, Exxon is the largest producer, with daily output of 3.64 million BOEPD, but its production dropped 408,000 BOEPD between the first and second quarters. The five majors, which include Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell and Total SA, also cut capital expenditures by a combined $25 billion between the quarters.

Crude output worldwide dropped sharply after the market crashed in April. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut output by nearly 10 million barrels a day to balance out supply and demand in the market.