Qatar Airways defers half of some employees' wages for three months

FILE PHOTO: A Qatar Airways aircraft takes off at the aircraft builder's headquarters of Airbus in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar Airways on Tuesday said mid-level employees and above will have their salaries halved for at least three months but that staff would be back paid when the airline could afford it.

Partially deferring salaries was a temporary measure that is expected to last for three months starting April, the airline said, though cautioned it could be extended “depending on the economic situation”.

Unpaid portions of salaries would be paid “as soon as possible when circumstances allow”, it said.

The airline did not say how many staff would be affected, or how much it would temporarily save over the three months.

Qatar Airways is one of few airlines still operating regular scheduled passenger services with international travel virtually grounded due to the new coronavirus outbreak.

Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told Reuters on March 29 he had forfeited his salary until the airline returned to full operations.

The state-owned airline would eventually seek government support due to the impact of the new coronavirus, he said then.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Kirsten Donovan