State-owned airline Kuwait Airways is set to lay off 1,500 foreign employees in response to the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has on its business.

Set to affect non-Kuwaiti employees, the job cuts will be across the airline, Reuters quoted Kuwait Airways as saying in a tweet.

However, the airline did not disclose the departments where the lay-offs would take place.

Kuwait Airways tweeted: “In dealing with the coronavirus crisis and its negative impact on commercial operations…Kuwait Airways announces the termination of around 1,500 non-Kuwaiti employees (contracts).”

Earlier, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas reported that the airline was cutting 25% of its 6,000-employee workforce. This decision excluded personnel holding Kuwaiti or Gulf citizenship.

The company’s latest move comes due to the hardships it is facing as a result of the Covid-19 impact on the air transport sector. It is currently evaluating the plan and the process is expected to take two weeks for completion.

Kuwait Airways reported in its full-year 2018 accounts that it recorded a net loss of nearly $427m.

Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, the loss-making airline planned to hire an additional 1,000 people during this year.

Due to lockdowns, Kuwait Airways, which has a fleet of 30 aircraft, has been grounded similar to almost all airlines in the Middle East, AFP reported.

In the past few weeks, private companies in Kuwait have laid off employees, but Kuwait Airways is said to be the first government agency to take such a decision.

The government will pay the airline’s losses but is yet to announce any special compensation.