By: Air Traveller PH Staff
Not even one of the world's biggest airline was spared from the Coronavirus (CoviD-19) crisis. Emirates has recently announced that it will temporarily suspend majority its passenger flights beginning March 25 as more countries close their borders to prevent the spread of CoviD-19.
The airline will however maintain its cargo operations utilizing its fleet of Boeing 777 freighters. The Emirates group has also implemented reduction in salary for majority of its employees but has stated that it will not cut jobs.
In a statement, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group said: “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."
"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. We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services."
The airline has also maintained that it has a "strong balance sheet" and is liquid enough to survive a long period of flight reductions in which the airline is prepared for the return of normal operations.
In order also to mitigate and manage costs brought by a huge drop in air travel demand, the airline has taken measures which include 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
Emirates and Dnata Presidents Tim Clark and Gary Chapman will also take a 100% basic salary cut for three months.
Sheikh Ahmed prefers that the employees take salary cuts than to completely lose their jobs. "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 said.
The airline ensures that it closely monitors the situation and keeps in regular contact with all relevant authorities, so that it can implement the latest guidance to keep travellers and its employees safe and healthy.
To safeguard the health of its employees, Emirates strongly discourages from non-essential travel, implementing work from home policies 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 COVID-19. Flight and ground crew have also been provided with support to stay safe while on duty, including providing hand sanitizers and masks where required.
Emirates is the fourth largest airline in the world in terms of scheduled revenue passengers flown. It operates a fleet of 259 aircraft and is the world's largest operator of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, the worlds largest passenger aircraft. It operates 115 A380s in its fleet at present.