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No announcement made on mass layoffs, says Emirates

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on May 18, 2020 | Last updated on May 18, 2020 at 06.24 am
Emirates, airline, group, Bloomberg news, dubai, coronavirus, covid-19

The airline's spokesperson said in a statement to Khaleej Times that all departments have been asked to review costs.

Emirates airline on Sunday said it had not announced any mass redundancies after some media outlets reported that the Dubai-based world's largest international carrier is considering cutting about 30,000 jobs.

However, the airline's spokesperson said in a statement to Khaleej Times that all departments have been asked to review costs.

"No announcement has been made regarding mass redundancies at the airline. Any such decision will be communicated in an appropriate fashion. Like any responsible business would do, our executive team has directed all departments to conduct a thorough review of costs and resourcing against business projections, even as we prepare for gradual service resumption," an Emirates spokesperson said in the statement.

"As our Chairman has said, conserving cash, safeguarding our business, and preserving as much of as our skilled workforce as possible, remain our top priorities through this period," said the statement.

Quoting sources, Bloomberg reported that Emirates will reduce workforce by 30 per cent and is also considering accelerating the retirement of A380 fleet.

Emirates airline profit grew 21 per cent to Dh1.1 billion in 2019-20, helped by 10% drop in operating costs 15% drop in fuel bill. Its total revenue recorded a decline of 6 per cent to Dh92 billion. While overall passenger traffic declined four per cent as Emirates carried 56.2 million passengers.

"For the first 11 months of 2019-20, we were on track to deliver against our business targets. However, from mid-February things changed rapidly as the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world, causing a sudden and tremendous drop in demand for international air travel," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

He noted that the Covid-19 pandemic will have a huge impact on the Group's 2020-21 performance due to Covid-19. "We expect it will take 18 months at least, before travel demand returns to a semblance of normality."

Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said with social distancing measures, the absence of a medicinal cure and the collapse in demand means that big jets like the A380 are simply not flexible or competitive enough against new generation machines like 777X, 787 or A350.

"Since Emirates has all three of those types entering its fleet over the coming decade, coupled with the ending of leases on its vintage early model A380s, it makes sense that the airline is looking at all its options in terms of removing them from its operations to facilitate a downsizing of its footprint until such time demand stabilizes," said London-based Ahmad.

"Emirates is largely shielded from the withdrawal of the A380s since they are all leased. The bigger headache is for lessors who will have a huge inventory of A380s that will be almost impossible to re-market since no one wants an airplane of that size - indeed, even during Airbus' heyday of selling A380s a decade ago, demand then was flat aside from Emirates' interest. There is even less chance that used A380s will be in demand. Most will invariably be scrapped," Ahmad said.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com 


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