Struggling Kuwait Airways confirms 1,350 redundancies

Kuwait Airways has retired 1,350 Kuwaiti nationals in the last 24 months as it attempts to cut costs and return to profitability by 2019, according to a report by Reuters. 

A new fleet is on order.

The carrier has struggled since the Gulf War and, while cutting jobs from nationals is almost unheard of in the oil rich state, experts have said that downsizing the workforce is essential in returning the airline to profitability.

“Since two years, almost 1,600 people left the airline, taking the golden handshake,” said chief executive Abdullah Al Sarhan.

Despite this, 250 employees were brought back thanks to the region’s boom in aviation.

According to the report a further 1,000 non-Kuwaiti staff may be let go.

Losses have been reported every year since the invasion by Iraq, but the gap is narrowing, according to Sarhan.

He added that there was an “initial target of three years from now to be positive, so we’re talking about 2018-2019”.

The Government is funding a new fleet with 35 Boeing and Airbus aircraft ordered in 2014.

A reassessment of routes will also be conducted in a bid to increase the carrier’s fortunes.

Kuwait Airwayskuwait flightsAbdullah Al-Sarhan