Air Arabia (G9, Sharjah) plans to lay off more staff in a second round of cuts that could affect 10% of its employees. A spokesman told Reuters on June 3 that the additional job cuts are due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and come as the airline reported a 1Q20 drop in revenue of 45%.

Air Arabia employs approximately 2,000 people and laid off 57 employees in May. “It is unfortunate that we had to take the decision to lay off a small number of our staff this week. This is the first time in our history that we were forced to do so taking into consideration the current market realities,” an airline spokesman said in May.

In a termination letter seen by Reuters, Air Arabia said the impact on global aviation by the virus was expected to continue for a “considerable period of time.”

Along with the United Arab Emirates’ other main airlines, Air Arabia suspended operations in March.

It reported a profitable first quarter, just before the impact of the coronavirus pandemic became most pronounced. On May 4, the carrier announced a net profit of AED71 million dirhams (USD19 million) for the period January to March 2020 despite COVID-19 impacting its first-quarter financial and operational performance. Its results were 45% lower than for the same period in 2019.

More than 2.4 million passengers flew with Air Arabia between January and March 2020 across the carrier’s four hubs, a 14% lower figure than the number of passengers carried in the first quarter of last year.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al Thani, chairman of Air Arabia, said: “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reacted quickly and took all possible measures to protect our passengers and crew while ensuring we continue to fly safely where we can. Additionally, the management team has taken a series of business decisions to control our fixed and running costs during this period while supporting our business continuity. All these measures are set in motion at a time when airlines around the world continue to battle the biggest challenge faced in the history of aviation”.

Air Arabia is also expected to announce the grounding of up to seventeen A320s, Reuters reported. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the low-cost carrier’s UAE AOC has a fleet of 43 aircraft, consisting of thirty-nine A320-200s and four A321-200neo, Air Arabia Egypt (E5, Alexandria Borg el Arab) has four A320-200s, and Air Arabia Maroc (3O, Casablanca Int'l) has nine A320-200s.