Finally even one of the biggest players in the aviation industry like Emirates has decided to halt passenger operations. The reduction in operations will take effect starting march 25th. There still isn’t a date for when these measures will end.
Not All Operations Stop
We specifically spoke about passenger operations, because the giant middle eastern airline will continue its cargo operations. Freight flights will continue to fly in and out of the country. From the CEO’s statement it sounds like this was an imposed decision. Imposed by the worldwide situation. Many countries have closed their borders and therefore made passenger operations not viable.
Emirates will infact continue operating its fleet of freighter 777s. These 777s will continue to transport vital goods and medical equipment across the globe. Also as a of the reduction of air travel operations around the world Dnata is also ramping down operations both in Dubai and in other airports where they operate. Dnata is an Emirates Group, airline ground services company operating in Dubai and a number of airports around the world.
As of yesterday still many businesses were still doing business as usual in Dubai. So the country’s main fear is that the cases that have been found were brought in by travellers and that they can still contain the cases with this decision.
What About The Staff?
Emirates Airlines has a huge amout of staff in their workforce. A workforce which includes a great number of Pilots, cabin crew and of course office staff and ground staff. Emirates seems to believe that the market will bounce back quite quickly. Therefore the airlne is not planning to let employees go, as they will need to resume massively operations once the Covid-19 crisis ends.
What they have decied instead is to incentivate staff to take paid and unpaid leave in this low operations spell. Also for those workers that don’t take leave pay check reductions will be applied. cabin crew will get their basic salary reduced a percentage between 30% and 50%. Just to give you a ballpark figure the average basic paycheck for a cabin crew, before flying hours, is about 850-900€. Most cabin crew don’t have to pay for housing as it is company provided. This means that it is possible to survive even on a reduced basic salary.
In particular here’s the breakdown of the measures Emirates is taking:
- 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
How Long Will This Last?
We still don’t know how long this will last. The only information announced was that the halt will start on March 25th and will be in effect until further notice. From my point of view it’ll last until the main hubs in Europe and US start operating fully again. Once cash starts flowing again Emirates start operating again.
What If I Had a Booking With Them?
In this case I advise you to get in contact with the airline, to see what your options are. The airline will probably offer you flexibility on your booking, such as the possibility to change your travel date. I don’t know at this time if EK offers full refunds as some other airlines are doing. If you want to read more about what happened to me with my Korean Air booking read this article.