Emitrates airline announced tonight that they will be suspending all passenger flights as of March 25.
In a statement, the chairman and CEO of the UAE Based airline, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said:
“This is an unprecedented crisis situation in terms of breadth and scale: geographically, as well as from a health, social, and economic standpoint.”
He went on to say:
"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 all its passenger operations.”
Emirates is the world’s biggest international traffic airline, but given the closing borders of the world’s countries, even an airline as big as theirs cannot continue to operate.
The coronavirus has seen the closure of international borders, suspension of all but essential travel and in many countries, the overwhelming of health services and supermarkets.
In the UAE a number of measures have been put in place to slow the spread of the virus, also known as COVID-19, including closing all public parks, beaches, cinemas and gyms.
To mitigate their losses, the airline is putting the following measures in place:
- 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
- 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
- Presidents of Emirates and dnata – Sir Tim Clark and Gary Chapman – will take a 100% basic salary cut for three months.
These measures are designed to be a short to medium term fix to what is currently being referred to by Emirates as a ‘weak’ outlook for the travel industry.