TravelNewsAsia.com
Mon, 23 March 2020

Emirates to Suspend Most Passenger Flights

UPDATE: Since the below story was published, the Government of the UAE, which is based in the capital Abu Dhabi, has announced that ALL passenger flights to and from the United Arab Emirates have been suspended for two weeks from 25 March 2020. // END UPDATE.

Emirates deleted a statement issued on Sunday saying that it was cancelling all its passenger flights.

The airline has since confirmed that while it is not cancelling all passenger flights, it will have temporarily suspended most of them by 25 March 2020.

Emirates will continue to operate passenger and cargo flights to the following countries and territories until further notice, and as long as borders remain open and there is demand: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, the UK and USA.

Emirates Airbus A380 reg: A6EDV. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group said, “Until January 2020, the Emirates Group was doing well against our current financial year targets. But COVID19 has brought all that to a sudden and painful halt over the past 6 weeks ... 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 Wednesday, 25 March, although we will still operate cargo flights which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended most of its passenger operations. We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services."

The Emirates Group has also undertaken a series of measures to contain costs, as the outlook for travel demand remains weak across markets in the short to medium term. This includes:

- Postponing or cancelling discretionary expenditure;

- A freeze on all non-essential recruitment and consultancy work;

- Working with suppliers to find cost savings and efficiency;

- Encouraging employees to take paid or unpaid leave in light of reduced flying capacity; and

- A temporary reduction of basic salary for the majority of Emirates Group employees for three months, ranging from 25% to 50%. Employees will continue to be paid their other allowances during this time. Junior level employees will be exempt from basic salary reduction.

On the decision to reduce basic salary, Sheikh Ahmed said, “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.”

The company has strongly discouraged its employees from non-essential travel, implemented work from home policies for all employees where operationally feasible, enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols at its facilities, introduced temperature screening at its key office entry points, and launched internal educational campaigns on hand hygiene and health practices to reduce risk of COVID19.

Sheikh Ahmed said, “These are unprecedented times for the airline and travel industry, but we will get through it. Our business is taking a hit, but what matters in the long run is that we do the right thing for our customers, our employees, and the communities we serve. With the support and unity that we have seen from our employees, partners, customers, and other stakeholders, I’m confident that Emirates can tackle this challenge and come out stronger.”

With many of its airline customers dramatically reducing flights or ceasing services altogether, dnata has also significantly reduced its operations, including temporarily shutting some offices across its international network.

See latest Travel News, Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: Emirates, COVID19.

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