By Alexander Cornwell
DUBAI (Reuters) - Air Arabia, the only listed carrier in the United Arab Emirates, has laid off 57 employees due to travel disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
The Sharjah-based airline, which has about 2,000 employees, has like other UAE carriers suspended scheduled operations since March. It is not clear when normal services will resume.
"It is unfortunate that we had to take the decision to lay off a small number of our staff this week. This is the first time in our history that we were forced to do so taking into consideration the current market realities," the spokesman said.
The airline did not say which departments had been affected.
Air Arabia has taken measures to protect jobs since the virus outbreak, the spokesman said, without disclosing details.
"We will continue to do everything possible to safeguard our employees by keeping layoffs to the minimum and only as a last resort," he said.
In a termination letter seen by Reuters, Air Arabia said the impact on global aviation by the virus was expected to continue for a "considerable period of time."
State-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines has asked some cabin crew employees to suspend their contracts, Reuters reported last month, citing an internal email. Other Gulf airlines have temporarily cut salaries to weather the crisis.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Edmund Blair)