Dubai: Qatar Airways is not seeing any labour shortages even as airlines in the UK and the US grapple with the problem, which has resulted in widespread disruptions.
“Qatar Airways does not see any labor shortages in our company or the region,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar’s flagship carrier, during IATA’s AGM in Doha.
Al Baker said the airline is “inundated” with job applications as it ramps up its network to meet the pent-up travel demand.
“We are in need of around 900 additional pilots and we had 20,000 applications,” said Al Baker.
Meanwhile, airlines in regions such as the UK, Europe and the US are seeing massive operational disruptions amid labour shortages across all segments of the industry.
Al Baker blamed the issue on employees’ preference for hybrid working. “There is a shortage because people have gotten into the bad habit of working from home.”
IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh called the disruptions “isolated” and said that it would have no impact on the industry body’s outlook.
Industry losses are expected to reduce to $9.7 billion, compared to the previous estimate of a loss of $11.6 billion.
Walsh also said the high airfares, fuel prices and lower global GDP growth will not impact the pent-up travel demand.
“When we factor all of these into account, and despite the industry suffering a significant headwind from fuel prices, we are able to forecast the reduction in losses,” said Walsh.
“The demand we witness remains quite strong,” said Walsh. “In many cases the demand exceeds the available capacity.”
The Qatar Airways’ CEO struck a more cautious tone on the industry’s growth.
“We have growth and demand in the industry, but there are not enough handling facilities available,” said Al Baker. “This will be a very big challenge in the coming months and I hope it gets resolved somehow.”