Laid off cabin crew who were fired by Qatar Airways at the height of the pandemic are being invited to apply for their old jobs back according to a new job posting on the Doha-based airline’s official careers website.
The news is a positive sign that the demand for international travel is finally rebounding although it wasn’t immediately clear how many positions the airline was looking to fill or when the ex-cabin crew are likely to be able to reclaim their wings.
“As the market conditions are improving and our network is growing, we are now in a better position to bring back our valued former Cabin Crew, Qatar Airways’ Ambassadors to the world,” the job ad, which has only just been posted, reads.
“We are prioritising highly motivated former Cabin Crew who can deliver our legendary hospitality and world-class service. With industry-leading benefits and unparalleled training programs, you will support the Customer Experience division by creating memorable experiences for our passengers onboard,” the ad continues.
Former employees will have until July 24 to submit their application.
Qatar Airways laid off around 20 per cent of its entire worldwide workforce last year including a “substantial” number of pilots and cabin crew. The airline’s chief executive Akbar Al Baker defended the mass redundancies, saying the number of job losses had been “significantly less than many of our competing airlines during this time.”
Veteran cabin crew with more than 15-years of service at the airline were disproportionately selected for redundancy leading to criticism of ageism because the more experienced crew members were at least 35 or older.
In March, Qatar Airways began inviting some crew members back who had been locked out of Qatar when immigration officials imposed tough border restrictions that prevented foreign expat visa holders from returning to the small Persian Gulf country.
“As a member of our cabin crew team who has been located outside Qatar for an extended period of time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope this email finds you safe and well in your current location,” an email sent to affected staffers read.
“We understand that this may have been a challenging time for you and that you are keen to return to active duty with the airline in Qatar at the earliest opportunity,” the email continued. “We are pleased to advise that we are now at a stage where we are able to initiate the process of arranging for the return of stranded cabin crew members.”
Qatar Airways has pushed an aggressive recovery strategy with the airline now serving more than 140 destinations worldwide. Regional rival Emirates has not indicated when it might start inviting ex-cabin crew back but budget carrier flydubai has already recalled some furloughed crew members.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.