8 Airlines Teetering on the Edge of Collapse Due to COVID-19

Published June 30th, 2020 - 11:14 GMT

The outbreak of COVID-19 forced countries to go into lockdown, closing down businesses, airports and borders and forcing strict measures and restrictions on travel.  The aviation industry was one of the worst hit and impacted by the lockdown. The International Air Transport Association (IATA)  for Africa and the Middle East region expected that global airlines’ loss will reach up to $400 billion in 2020, along with the 550 billion of debts, which they won’t be able to get rid of for many years to come.  IATA also confirmed that the suspension of flights is putting more than 1,2 million jobs in Africa and the Middle East at risk, nearly half of the jobs in the aviation sector.

On the other side, the impact of the pandemic will continue even after the gradual opening up of borders and airports as flight tickets prices went up in light of the health measures required including the social distancing. Therefore, IATA is also launching a re-travel plan that hopefully could be implemented internationally, as airports are preparing to reopen under new procedures, which requires international coordination between airlines, airports and governments to adopt coherent measures and avoid unilateral application.

Here are 8 global airlines that were severely affected due to COVID-19:

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1. Emirates Airlines:

Emirates Airlines: Emirates Airlines, which employs more than 38 thousand employees, decided to temporarily reduce basic salaries by rates ranging between 25 and 50 percent for the majority of its employees in the month of March, and many employees were dismissed as they saw that their jobs became redundant, and the company received In the period of suspension, half a million requests for refund of canceled trip money were canceled. It is worth noting that the company received government support to avoid losses and also resorted to borrowing from foreign banks. However, despite this, the company stated that it will not fully recover from the losses until 2024.

2. Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways: Due to COVID-19 outbreak, Etihad Airways has laid off hundreds of employees, including cabin crews after the forced lockdown and suspension of flights. The company also reduced salaries, as executives, pilots and engineers received 50% of their basic salaries, while cabin crews received 25%.

3. British Airways

British Airways: The national carrier in the United Kingdom is the largest airline in the Kingdom and the third largest airline in Europe. The company announced its plan to lay off 12,000 employees due to the repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak, despite receiving aid from the British government to support salaries. Currently, the company reinstates a number of its employees, but with lower salaries, as the company requires the employees to renew the contracts to reduce their salaries between 50% and 75%. Those who refuse to sign the new contract will be fired.

4. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways: the company laid off at least 20% of its employees and reduced the salaries of the oldest foreign pilots by 25%, and the salaries of others by 15%. It also suspended the operation of the Airbus A380 aircraft until late 2021. In March, the airline was still operating flights to 170 destinations on 234 aircraft. Today, it is only operating to 35 destinations.

5. Royal Moroccan Airlines

Royal Moroccan Airlines: It is the official carrier in Morocco, and one of the largest airlines in Africa. Royal Moroccan Airlines is awaiting an agreement with the state that will revive its budget so that it can fly again. At the same time, it is looking to reach an agreement with its employees that will lead to a reduction in wages or a reduction in their number. It is worth noting that the company's activity decreased 60% last March and 100% last April, and the company's losses reached $5 million per day. Its CEO, Abdelhamid Addou, expected that it would take about 3 years to return to the level of activity of last year.

6. Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways: It is the official carrier in Kuwait. Due to the pandemic, the company laid off 1500 employees. The process excluded Kuwaitis, GCC nationals, and those married to Kuwaitis or Kuwaiti women.

7. Lufthansa Airline

Lufthansa Airline: Lufthansa is the largest German airline with flights to 18 domestic destinations and 197 international destinations in 78 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. The company intends to terminate around 26,000 employees. The company also closed one of its subsidiaries with layoffs of 1,200 employees. The company was mulling filing for bankruptcy until Lufthansa shareholders approved a nine billion euro ($10 billion) government bailout package to protect the future of the German carrier, after it nearly collapsed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

8. Thai Airways

Thai Airways: It is the official carrier of Thailand. The company filed for bankruptcy in order to prepare a restructuring plan. As a result, the company will not receive financial assistance from the government and its 20,000 employees will not be laid off.

1. Emirates Airlines:
2. Etihad Airways
3. British Airways
4. Qatar Airways
5. Royal Moroccan Airlines
6. Kuwait Airways
7. Lufthansa Airline
8. Thai Airways
1. Emirates Airlines:
Emirates Airlines: Emirates Airlines, which employs more than 38 thousand employees, decided to temporarily reduce basic salaries by rates ranging between 25 and 50 percent for the majority of its employees in the month of March, and many employees were dismissed as they saw that their jobs became redundant, and the company received In the period of suspension, half a million requests for refund of canceled trip money were canceled. It is worth noting that the company received government support to avoid losses and also resorted to borrowing from foreign banks. However, despite this, the company stated that it will not fully recover from the losses until 2024.
2. Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways: Due to COVID-19 outbreak, Etihad Airways has laid off hundreds of employees, including cabin crews after the forced lockdown and suspension of flights. The company also reduced salaries, as executives, pilots and engineers received 50% of their basic salaries, while cabin crews received 25%.
3. British Airways
British Airways: The national carrier in the United Kingdom is the largest airline in the Kingdom and the third largest airline in Europe. The company announced its plan to lay off 12,000 employees due to the repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak, despite receiving aid from the British government to support salaries. Currently, the company reinstates a number of its employees, but with lower salaries, as the company requires the employees to renew the contracts to reduce their salaries between 50% and 75%. Those who refuse to sign the new contract will be fired.
4. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways: the company laid off at least 20% of its employees and reduced the salaries of the oldest foreign pilots by 25%, and the salaries of others by 15%. It also suspended the operation of the Airbus A380 aircraft until late 2021. In March, the airline was still operating flights to 170 destinations on 234 aircraft. Today, it is only operating to 35 destinations.
5. Royal Moroccan Airlines
Royal Moroccan Airlines: It is the official carrier in Morocco, and one of the largest airlines in Africa. Royal Moroccan Airlines is awaiting an agreement with the state that will revive its budget so that it can fly again. At the same time, it is looking to reach an agreement with its employees that will lead to a reduction in wages or a reduction in their number. It is worth noting that the company's activity decreased 60% last March and 100% last April, and the company's losses reached $5 million per day. Its CEO, Abdelhamid Addou, expected that it would take about 3 years to return to the level of activity of last year.
6. Kuwait Airways
Kuwait Airways: It is the official carrier in Kuwait. Due to the pandemic, the company laid off 1500 employees. The process excluded Kuwaitis, GCC nationals, and those married to Kuwaitis or Kuwaiti women.
7. Lufthansa Airline
Lufthansa Airline: Lufthansa is the largest German airline with flights to 18 domestic destinations and 197 international destinations in 78 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. The company intends to terminate around 26,000 employees. The company also closed one of its subsidiaries with layoffs of 1,200 employees. The company was mulling filing for bankruptcy until Lufthansa shareholders approved a nine billion euro ($10 billion) government bailout package to protect the future of the German carrier, after it nearly collapsed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
8. Thai Airways
Thai Airways: It is the official carrier of Thailand. The company filed for bankruptcy in order to prepare a restructuring plan. As a result, the company will not receive financial assistance from the government and its 20,000 employees will not be laid off.

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