Pilots across grades will be in for a pay cut at Qatar Airways as the airline tries to cope with reduced services. Image Credit: PTI

Doha: Qatar Airways is cutting the salaries of some pilots and will make others redundant to help reduce costs and soften the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The basic pay of two senior pilot grades will be reduced by a quarter while junior aviators will face 15 per cent decreases, according to a June 4 letter to flight-deck crew from Chief Flight Operations Officer Jassim Al-Haroon. (The measures won't apply to Qatari nationals.)

The carrier said last month it needs to cut 20 per cent of its workforce to adapt to reduced demand following the coronavirus outbreak, which prompted most governments to close borders and order people to stay at home. Flight-deck crew will be included in the plan, Al-Haroon said in the letter, with captains and cadet pilots alike to be impacted.

The airline employs more than 46,000 people, according to its website, meaning the layoffs could affect about 9,200 workers. 

The Qatar Airways plan echoes a similar initiative by its government owner, which last week told state-funded entities to cut spending on non-Qatari wages to help shore up finances. Gulf nations have been hit by a double-whammy of virus-related economic downturns and a fall in energy prices, reducing income from exports.