Last updated: Sunday March 29, 2020 KSA 15:08 – GMT 12:08
Posted on: Sunday March 29, 2020 KSA 13:42 – GMT 10:42
Source: Dubai – Reuters
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker told Reuters on Sunday that the company would eventually be forced to seek government support, warning that supplies necessary to operate flights are close to running out.
Several countries have already stepped in to help airlines that have seen demand evaporate overnight due to the outbreak of the Corona virus, with the United States offering $ 58 billion in aid.
Qatar Airways has not completely stopped flights and expects to operate 1,800 flights over the next two weeks.
“We have received many requests from governments around the world and embassies in certain countries asking Qatar Airways not to stop flights,” Al Baker said by phone from Doha.
The state-owned airline flies to Europe, Asia and Australia, to carry passengers stranded by the Corona virus as many countries close their borders.
“We will continue to fly as long as there is a necessity and we have requests to transfer stranded people to their home countries, provided that the airspace and the airport are open,” Al Baker said.
But he warned that liquidity was running out and that what the company had was enough to continue the activity “for a very short period.”
“Certainly, we will eventually turn to the government for liquidity.”
Al-Baker declined to specify a date for requesting government assistance, which may come in the form of loans or capital financing, but added that the company was taking measures to maintain liquidity.
And he added that workers took unpaid and unpaid leave, adding that he waived his salary until the company returned to full operation. He said that the workers were not forced to cut their wages, although some offered this.
The company announced before the epidemic that it would incur a loss in the current fiscal year, due to the use of longer and higher cost paths.
Qatar Airways operates some flights with 50% occupancy, or less, and in the event of occupying 45% of the seats in flights for the next two weeks, it will transport about 250 thousand passengers.