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Coronavirus Pandemic

Dubai's Emirates airline begins laying off employees

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on June 10, 2020 | Last updated on June 10, 2020 at 06.17 am
Emirates, aviation, job losses, coronavirus, covid-19, airline

Emirates on Sunday confirmed that it extended the period of reduced pay for its staff for another three months till September.

Dubai's Emirates airline has begun laying off employees to reduce cost and save cash as the carrier looks to rightsize its workforce.

"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 rightsize our workforce in line with our reduced operations. After reviewing all scenarios and options, we deeply regret that we have to let some of our people go," the spokesperson said in the statement.

Citing sources, Reuters and Bloomberg earlier reported that a majority of those being made redundant are cabin crew workers as well as a minority of its engineers and pilots, including those flew the Airbus A380.

"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," said the statement.

The spokesperson, however, didn't disclose how many employees are being made redundant in this latest round of rightsizing the workforce.

Emirates on Sunday confirmed that it extended the period of reduced pay for its staff for another three months till September. It had previously reduced basic wages by 25 to 50 per cent for three months from April, with junior employees exempted.

The airline had employed around 60,000 people at the end of its 2019-20 financial year.

Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said the announced job cuts at Emirates will likely not be the last given the unprecedented damage that Covid-19 has had not just on air travel, but on the entire aviation industry as a whole.

"Emirates' massive international network means that job reductions were always a last resort option as the company staves off cash burn and expenses at a time when revenues are dried up. While Emirates SkyCargo is enjoying a resurgence in activities, the reality is that this income will never offset the lost money from passenger operations," he added.

"Whilst some salary reduction schemes have prevented bigger job cuts for now, the absence of a cure or medicinal suppressant of Covid-19 means that air travel is unlikely to even reach pre-9/11 levels within 3-5 years, let alone pre-Covid-19 levels in that same time period. For that reason, Emirates' reduction in headcount is necessary to stay competitive, agile and be ready for when air travel can resume with a degree of normalcy that we have been accustomed to for decades," said Ahmad.

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