Gulf Air will axe 240 in cost-cutting drive<!-- -->


Two-hundred-and-forty Gulf Air staff are to lose their jobs in the latest round of cuts at the regional carrier.

This is on top of the 392 jobs the airline reported axing last year, as part of a global cost-cutting drive.

Sixty people would lose their jobs with immediate effect, according to the airline including 35 Bahrainis, of whom 20 were taking early retirement, having worked for the airline for at least 20 years.

They will be given 100 per cent of their basic salary for the next five years whether they elect to work elsewhere or not. Gulf Air will contribute 56 per cent and GOSI (General Organisation for Social Insurance) 44 per cent of the cost.

Eight of them who have worked for less than 20 years will be given one month's salary for each year worked, up to a maximum of 19 months' salary.

"The remaining workers may be redeployed within the organisation if places can be found for them," said the statement.

"If not, they will be terminated according to the fair and transparent terms offered by Gulf Air, which is based on the duration of their service."

Another 80 staff will lose their jobs in Bahrain by the end of the year. These individuals are from areas of the company's operations which are 95 per cent Bahraini staffed.

They will lose their jobs as a result of outsourcing and automation.

A further 100 people from the airline's outstations will also lose their jobs. Expatriate staff terminations are based on their contracts and the labour law, and is typically three months' salary plus leaving indemnity, it said.

Newly appointed president and chief executive James Hogan has set a three-year deadline to put the airline back in the black.

"Staff cuts, which only affect a small percentage of the organisation, are just one of the measures being adopted to achieve the airline's objective of re-engineering itself on a commercial platform," said the company.

"Simply reducing staff without any other action would be largely ineffective. Several measures are taken to overcome the adversity facing the airline."

Gulf Air, the statement continued, would make operational changes to make it far more efficient through the elimination of bureaucracy and the implementation of processes that are required to generate more customers and better yields.

The airline is also evaluating its entire route network strategy with an eye on profitability and profile.

The aim is to consolidate and increase the number of flights to major capitals partly by utilising regional links and destinations.

Past routing deals will be renegotiated to make them more competitive, incorporating destination marketing.