Qatar Airways pilot made redundant asked to pay back $260K in training costs

Instead of getting a redundancy payout, they're being asked to pay the airline a fortune.
Instead of getting a redundancy payout, they're being asked to pay the airline a fortune. Photo credit: Qatar Airways

A letter being shared on social media shows Qatar Airways informing a pilot their employment is being terminated and that the airline was going to charge them for the costs incurred by training them.

Jawaher Al-Hail posted an image of the letter on Twitter saying that "a procedure was completed to terminate my services without stating disciplinary or similar reasons".

"We regret to inform you that your services with the company are no longer required," the letter states.

"You required to pay the company a sum of QR591,091 (NZ$264,000) being the amount in compensation for the costs and expenses incurred by the company for the scholarship programme agreement."

The letter refers to a contract signed by both parties when pilot training began.

The employee is then reminded that even after dismissal, they remain subject to certain obligations under the company's rules and regulations and any breach of these could result in further disciplinary action.

Qatar Airways has been forced to lay off hundreds of employees as a result of COVID-19.

However, people claiming to be former colleagues of Al-Hail say her employment was terminated as a result of disciplinary action - not the pandemic - so the request for repayment was fair.

Aviation blog One Mile at a Time claims the pilot "spent the past six years completing a two year training course and still hasn't passed any of the tests necessary to become a pilot".

"The airline became fed up and since they're firing pilots anyway and trying to cut costs, they also decided to terminate their contract with her at this point," the blog reports.

Another Twitter user who claims to be familiar with the situation called the accusations by the former pilot "ridiculous words".

"Dismissal came for various and compelling reasons. Your defence is misplaced, it seems to me," @kmedia84 said on Twitter.

Qatar Airways has been contacted for comment.