By Andy Sambidge
Gulf Air Trade Union official claims mass redundancies is part of restructuring plan
More than 1,200 staff could lose their jobs as part of a major restructuring process at Bahrain's Gulf Air, it was reported on Friday.
Management at the troubled airline met with Labour Ministry officials and union chiefs to discuss the shake-up plans on Thursday, Gulf Daily News reported.
Union leaders claimed that 1,266 staff from Gulf Air will be made redundant as part of the plan.
"The management showed us a series of presentations and one of those showed that as part of the downsizing plan, a total of 1,266 staff will be axed from different departments," said Gulf Air Trade Union spokesman Mohammed Mahdi in comments published by the paper.
He told the GDN that among those to be laid off, 800 will be Bahrainis.
Mahdi also said the airline's plan included reducing its current fleet, but said he is yet to receive details.
On Wednesday, Gulf Air said that it will cut costs by 24 percent this year.
The loss-making Bahraini flag-carrier has suffered due to strong competition from nearby Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, and cut eight non-performing routes last year.
Gulf Air is now focusing on Middle East and North African routes, as well as providing a limited number of routes to selected European and Asian markets.
In a statement, the airline said that its network realignment would help it move “away from low-yield transit traffic and concentrated on high-demand and high-yield point-to-point routes”.
Under former CEO Samer Majali, who left Gulf Air at the end of the year, the airline had already revised its orders with Boeing and Airbus in a bid to save roughly US$2.5bn.