Aramco unit gives $2m to help fight virus

Al-Buainain: This amount is to support our heroes in the health sector. (Reuters)
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Updated 03 April 2020

Aramco unit gives $2m to help fight virus

  • Aramco Trading Company donated to a health fund set up by the Saudi Ministry of Health

LONDON: A Saudi Aramco unit has given $2 million to aid the fight against the coronavirus.

Aramco Trading Company donated the money to the Health Endowment Fund established by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health.

“It is important that during such tough times, Saudi corporations and individuals continue to demonstrate solidarity behind those fighting on the front lines to withstand this pandemic,” said Ibrahim Q. Al-Buainain, president and CEO of Aramco Trading.

Ibrahim Q. Al-Buainain, president and CEO of Aramco Trading. (Supplied)

“This amount is to support our heroes in the health sector who are working around the clock to ensure that our people and community are safe.”

He added: “Although this global pandemic is spreading rapidly as the days go by, we are confident that our government is taking unprecedented measures to minimize its impact on our nation.”

Despite the effect of the pandemic on the global energy sector, ATC has maintained uninterrupted operations through its offices in London, Singapore and the UAE.

On Thursday the Saudi health ministry said that deaths from the illness had risen to 21 while 1,885 infections were reported.

The Kingdom also said it was implementing a 24-hour curfew in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Crash landing: Global air transport hit hard by virus

Updated 18 sec ago

Crash landing: Global air transport hit hard by virus

  • The pandemic has led to the collapse of South Africa’s Comair and South African Airways (SAA)

PARIS: The coronavirus has battered the air transport sector by grounding planes, resulting in layoffs, bankruptcies and rescue plans.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated global airlines will lose $314 billion in 2020 revenues. That’s a 55 percent dive compared to 2019, and air traffic will not bounce back until 2023, the IATA says.

Latin America’s largest airline LATAM, with over 42,000 employees, became the latest carrier to file for bankruptcy on May 26 in the US, under Chapter 11 protection, allowing it to restructure without pressure from creditors, just two weeks after Colombia’s Avianca, with 20,000 staff, did the same.

Cash-strapped giant Virgin Australia also collapsed on April 21, going into administration.

The airline had appealed for a Aus$1.4 billion ($930 million) loan, but the government refused.

The pandemic has also led to the collapse of South Africa’s Comair and South African Airways (SAA), the UK’s Flybe and four subsidiaries of Norwegian Air Shuttle in Sweden and Denmark.

Air Canada plans to lay off at least 19,000 employees. British Airways will shed 30 percent of its workforce, US Delta Air Lines will carry out 10,000 redundancies, while Scandinavia’s SAS will lay off 5,000 jobs.

The damage to the air sector extends beyond the airlines. US plane manufacturer Boeing has announced 16,000 layoffs. In the engine sector, US manufacturer General Electric and the UK’s Rolls-Royce have also slashed 12,600 and 9,000 jobs respectively.

German airline group Lufthansa, meanwhile, announced on May 25 it had struck a $9.9 billion rescue deal with the government, under which Berlin would become its main shareholder.

But two days later the airline group wavered, saying its supervisory board was currently “unable to approve” the deal over fears of over-harsh conditions from EU competition watchdogs.

Also in Germany, charter firm Condor, a subsidiary of bankrupt travel agency Thomas Cook, secured €550 million in loans, underwritten by the state.

France and the Netherlands have rushed to the rescue of Air France-KLM with a plan of between nine and €11 billion.

Most of the big American air companies have asked for support from a massive $2.2 trillion US stimulus package intended to help impacted industries, of which $50 billion is earmarked for the civil aviation sector.

Italy has decided to nationalize Alitalia.

Switzerland has guaranteed €1.2 billion in loans to Swiss and Edelweiss, two subsidiaries of Lufthansa.

New Zealand has loaned some NZ$900 million ($551 million) to Air New Zealand.

Dubai and Turkey have also announced that they will come to the aid of Emirates and Turkish Airlines, but have not yet provided figures.