Emirates on Sunday announced it will suspend nearly all of its passenger operations this week to reduce the spread of COVID-19 worldwide.
According to the Dubai-based airline most of its destinations will cease from March 25.
However, Cargo service will remain in operation, as well as 13 countries – the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, USA, and Canada.
“Having received requests from governments & customers to support repatriation of travellers, Emirates will continue to operate passenger and cargo flights to few countries until further notice, as long as borders remain open, and there is demand.”
“We cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement. “Some of our competitors, or even our supply chain partners, may not survive this crisis.”
Sheikh Ahmed said the Emirates Group has a strong balance sheet and “substantial cash liquidity”.
“We can, and will, with appropriate and timely action, survive through a prolonged period of reduced flight schedules, so that we are adequately prepared for the return to normality.”
As a cost-cutting measure, the airline will initiate a temporary reduction of basic salary for the “majority of” Emirates Group employees for three months.
The salary cut ranges from 25 to 50 per cent. The Presidents of Emirates and dnata – Sir Tim Clark and Gary Chapman – will take a 100 per cent basic salary cut for three months.
Employees will continue to be paid their other allowances during this time.
Junior-level employees will be exempt from basic salary reduction.
“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 Emirates Group has strong liquidity, with a healthy cash position but it is prudent that it take steps to reduce costs at this time. Emirates remains committed to serving its markets and looks forward to resuming a normal flight schedule as soon as that is permitted by the relevant authorities.”