By Chinelo Obogo
Qatar Airways Group has reported a net loss of US $4.1 billion for the pandemic 2020/2021 year.
While $2.3 billion of the figure is related to grounding of the Airbus A380 and A330 fleets, the operational loss narrows to $288.3 million — 7 per cent less compared to 2019/20.
Qatar Airways says it suffered a more than $4 billion loss in revenues over the last year, as lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus pandemic slashed demand for air travel.
However, Associated Press reports that the state-owned airline saw an increase in earnings to $1.6 billion before taxes and other costs compared to the previous year — costs that dropped significantly as the airline saved on jet fuel, reduced salaries by 15 per cent and cut some 13,400 employees from its workforce. The pandemic has hit international routes the hardest, dealing a heavy blow to super-connectors in the Persian Gulf that essentially lack domestic markets.
In the last several months, the flagship carrier has received a boost from an end to a year-long boycott that locked Qatar Airways out of the airspace of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The embargo had forced the airline to take longer routes and consume more jet fuel, raising expenses. For the first time since 2017, the energy-rich state’s airline reopened key routes to hubs like Dubai, Cairo and Riyadh as the political dispute eased in January.