Emirates airline, one of the world’s biggest long-haul carriers, has begun cutting staff as it looks to sustain its business activities amid a global slowdown in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to media reports.
“As previously communicated, we at Emirates have been doing everything possible to retain the talented people that make up our workforce for as long as we can. However, given the significant impact that the pandemic has had on our business, we simply cannot sustain excess resources and have to right size our workforce in line with our reduced operations,” an Emirates spokesperson told Al Arabiya English when approached for comment.
“After reviewing all scenarios and options, we deeply regret that we have to let some of our people go. This was a very difficult decision and not one that we took lightly. The company is doing everything possible to protect the workforce wherever we can. Where we are forced to take tough decisions we will treat people with fairness and respect. We will work with impacted employees to provide them with all possible support,” the spokesperson added.
📉 "Financially, 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of #aviation"— IATA (@IATA) June 9, 2020
IATA's new financial outlook shows that airlines are expected to lose $84.3 billion this year due to the #COVID19 crisis.
👉 Read more here: https://t.co/NF4MPTxdNe pic.twitter.com/el6x7VafWP
Emirates had told employees on Sunday that it would extend a three month wage cut due to end this month until September 30, Reuters reported according to an internal email seen by the news organization.
Outgoing Emirates’ President Tim Clark said last week it could take up to four years for the airline to resume flying to its entire network as the coronavirus hits demand across the world.
“I think probably by the year 2022/23, 2023/24 we will see things coming back to some degree of normality and Emirates will be operating its network as it was and hopefully as successfully as it was,” Clark said in a webcast interview with aviation consultant John Strickland, Reuters reported.
In mid-May media reports had suggested that Emirates was planning to reduce its total number of employees by around 30 percent, and the airline was considering accelerating the retirement of its Airbus A380 fleet of aircraft. A spokesperson told Al Arabiya English at the time that no decision had been taken.
We’re spreading our wings wider. From 15 June, we will offer flights for passengers to 29 cities, enabling safe and efficient connections between North America, Europe, Asia and Australia through @DXB. #FlyEmiratesFlyBetter https://t.co/tPl5JiiNFM pic.twitter.com/8g4JJ40qxd— Emirates Airline (@emirates) June 7, 2020
Emirates destinations amid coronavirus
The airline has been gradually opening up bookings to destinations around the world as lockdown measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus begin to ease.
On Tuesday, Emirates announced it would start flights to Kabul, Afghanistan from June 25, bringing the total number of destinations offered by the airline to 30.
In addition to Kabul, Emirates has previously announced flights to Bahrain, London Heathrow, Manchester, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, New York JFK, Chicago, Toronto, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Perth and Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Manila, the statement read.
Emirates has received approvals to carry passengers on flights to Kabul in Afghanistan starting from 25 June, taking the total number of destinations currently offered to travellers to 30. #FlyEmiratesFlyBetter https://t.co/VeCuUA0fDA pic.twitter.com/CChB9Rvj94— Emirates Airline (@emirates) June 9, 2020
From June 8, travelers from Pakistan will also be able to book flights from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Flights out of the UAE were suspended on March 23 as officials moved to contain the spread of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. Etihad, Emirates and other Gulf airlines have been offering flights out of the UAE for those looking to return, but incoming flights are limited.
It is currently unclear when all government restrictions on passengers will lift. The UAE has temporarily banned visas on arrival for all nationalities and banned its citizens from traveling outside the country.