Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways will not distribute dividends to its shareholders for the financial year ending 31 December 2019 in an effort to safeguard the company’s liquidity during the Covid-19 crisis.
The airline’s board met virtually last week to discuss measures to save costs after Jazeera was forced to cancel all flights amid a Kuwaiti lockdown designed to curb the spread of the virus.
“As a private sector company, we are taking full responsibility to ensure our business continuity,” said Jazeera Airways chairman Marwan Boodai.
“Therefore, we have implemented decisive measures to safeguard our financial position caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, including the suspension of the 2019 dividend payment and activating the drawdown of bank facilities, that were not previously tapped, to support Jazeera’s ongoing liquidity through the coming months.
“We have always taken prudent and pivotal actions in difficult circumstances. In such times, placing our employees and customers first is our priority by ensuring they are not affected in the long-run.
“We are committed to our role as a Kuwaiti national carrier and will continue to perform our part to ensure we can support the economy and uphold our national duty.”
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), over 16,000 passenger flights have been cancelled in the Middle East and the number is expected to increase exponentially with the additional measures in different countries.
International bookings in the Middle East are down 40% year-on-year in March and April. Airlines in the region have lost US$7.2 billion in revenue as of 11 March, while ticket refunds have increased by 75% in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.