May 14, 2020 / 8:02 AM / 23 days ago

Qatar Airways to slash nearly 20% of its workforce - CEO

FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A350-1000 aircraft of Qatar Airways is pictured after a delivery ceremony at the French headquarters of aircraft company Airbus in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar Airways, one of the Middle East’s biggest carriers, will lay off close to 20% of its workforce after the coronavirus pandemic decimated travel demand, its chief executive has told the BBC.

“Unfortunately, we will have to cut nearly 20% of our workforce,” Akbar al-Baker said in a television interview posted by a BBC reporter on Twitter on Wednesday.

Baker said it was a “very hard decision” but that the state-owned airline had “no other alternative”.

Reuters reported on May 5 that Qatar Airways was to make a “substantial number of jobs redundant” including cabin crew, citing an internal email.

Qatar Airways Group, which counts the airline among its assets, had 46,684 employees at the end of its last reported financial year in March 2019.

Baker told Reuters in March that the airline was burning through cash and would eventually seek government aid.

Writing by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Jason Neely

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