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Fears for up to 250 jobs at Bahrain airport

Jobs in danger as Gulf Air plans to bring ground services in-house.
NEWS, Aviation

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If a plan by Gulf Air to move its ground services at Bahrain airport in-house is given the green light it would put at risk more than 250 jobs at the airport, it was reported on Thursday.

Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, is considering moving its ground services, such as passenger handling, clearing and catering, in-house, according to a report by the Gulf Daily News.

"We fear that the services we offer will no longer be required from our biggest client and we will not be needing so many Bahraini employees," Yousef Al Khaja, a trade union chairman at Bahrain Airport Services (BAS).

BAS is awaiting confirmation of a decision by Gulf Air and the report said the implementation of the plan would be a threat over 250 of the 2,000 jobs at the company.

"Over the past several years, BAS has been providing high quality services to the airline. They should not dispense with those services because it will not be good for either BAS or for the Bahraini workforce. The steps taken by Gulf Air to improve their competitiveness should not be at the expense of Bahraini labour or the national economy,” said Al Khaja.

A Gulf Air spokesperson told the newspaper that it is “not uncommon for supporting industries to lose clients at one end and find new opportunities at the other. Successful enterprises must continue to adapt themselves to the competitive environment and both Gulf Air and BAS are no exceptions to this.”

In July, the Bahrain government said it planned to privatise the loss making national carrier, which in 2009 saw its full-year losses rise 21 percent to $502.9m, as soon as possible.

Gulf Air is one of the single largest employers in Bahrain, where privatisations are opposed by most opposition politicians and the general public due to fears over job security.

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