A copy of a letter purportedly issued by Qatar Airways to a pilot is circulating on social media and shows the grim reality of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pilot’s employment was terminated and then asked to repay QAR 591,091 (US$162,343) being compensation for the training that the pilot received.
The situation surrounding one pilot’s dismissal is unclear, but the termination is effective immediately with a seven-day severance pay in lieu of notice.
It is understandable that as travel demand plummets, so will the need for aircraft and employees. While some airlines have already folded and others gone into receivership, those still solvent are laying off workers, retiring older aircraft from their fleet, and moving operations from some airports.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an acute shortage of pilots worldwide and many airlines offered training in exchange for what is essentially indentured servitude – they’d continue flying in exchange for training, and if they were no longer employed as a pilot by the airline they’d have to make repayment towards their training costs.
Here’s the letter being circulated:
Qatar Airways have not yet issued a statement on this story.