The airline had earlier announced that all flights would be suspended but, in a new statement, it said that it would continue to operate certain flights following requests from
governments and customers regarding the repatriation of travellers, until further notice, as long as borders remain open, and there is demand.
Emirates will continue to operate flights to the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, USA, and Canada. As the situation remains dynamic, Emirates said travellers should check flight status on its website emirates.com.
It will also continue with its cargo operations, the airline said in a statement issued today.
“The world has literally gone into quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is an unprecedented crisis situation in terms of breadth and scale: geographically, as well as from a health, social, and economic standpoint. Until January 2020, the Emirates Group was doing well against our current financial year targets. But COVID-19 has brought all that to a sudden and painful halt over the past 6 weeks, said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group.
“As a global network airline, we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns. By March 25 (Wednesday), although we will still operate cargo flights which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended all its passenger operations. We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services,” he added.
No Job Cuts but Salary Reductions
A decision to temporarily reduce basic salary for the majority of the Emirate Group employees has also been taken. The three-month reduction will range from 25 per cent to 50 per cent of the basic salary, excluding other allowances that will continue to be paid. Junior-level employees will be exempt from basic salary reduction. Presidents of Emirates and dnata – Sir Tim Clark and Gary Chapman – will take a 100 per cent basic salary cut for three months
According to Sheikh Ahmed, this decision was taken to ensure that they are able to keep their staff employed. “Rather than ask employees to leave the business, we chose to implement a temporary basic salary cut as we want to protect our workforce and keep our talented and skilled people, as much as possible. We want to avoid cutting jobs. When demand picks up again, we also want to be able to quickly ramp up and resume services for our customers, he added.
Other Cost Reduction Measures
The Emirates Group, has since the outbreak, undertaken many cost-cutting measures that include postponing or cancelling discretionary expenditure, put a freeze on all non-essential recruitment and consultancy work, cost savings and efficiency measures in partnership with suppliers, and encouraging staff to take paid or unpaid leave in light of reduced flying capacity.