COVID-19 impact: Emirates lays off hundreds of pilots, cabin crew

The airline had recently extended pay cuts upto September.
Emirates Boeing aircraft
Emirates Boeing aircraft
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In what is being called one of the largest firings in the aviation business, the world’s biggest long haul carrier Emirates laid off 700 cabin crew members and 600 pilots, according to Arabian Business. Most of these pilots reportedly flew the Airbus SE A380. Emirates is the biggest operator of this aircraft.

The report added that the carrier was also considering accelerating retiring the aircraft.

Moneycontrol reported that with the current round of layoffs, a total of 792 pilots have been laid off by the airline. This includes Indians, some of whom had recently joined from IndiGo. The first round of firing was done in the last week of May. More job cuts are to be expected, according to Reuters.

Along with pilots, some engineers were also being laid off, according to Bloomberg. 

"We at Emirates have been doing everything possible to retain the talented people that make up our workforce for as long as we can. However, given the significant impact that the pandemic has had on our business, we simply cannot sustain excess resources and have to rightsize our workforce in line with our reduced operations. After reviewing all scenarios and options, we deeply regret that we have to let some of our people go," a spokesperson told Khaleej Times in a statement.

In mid May, Bloomberg reported that Emirates was considering laying off 30,000 people, one of the deepest job cuts in the industry. As per reports, the Emirates group employed 105,730 people at the end of 2019-20 financial year.

Earlier this week, Emirates had extended pay cuts all the way up to September. They had been put in place in April for a period of three months, leading to employees seeing a reduction in basic pay of 25% to 50%.  

In May, the government had agreed to infuse new equity into the airline to preserve it. The airline’s president, Tim Clark, had said that to get back to flying to all 157 international destinations it did prior to the pandemic, it would take four years. 

"I think probably by the year 2022-23 or 2023-24, we will see things coming back to some degree of normality and Emirates will be operating its network as it was and hopefully as successfully as it was," he reportedly said. 


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