Today, the global financial news company, Bloomberg ran a story that claimed Dubai-based airline, Emirates was in the process of making dozens of employees redundant. Not only would jobs be lost in administration and IT but Bloomberg also claimed senior cabin crew were due to be culled as well.
If true, it’s a worrying development at what still is the world’s largest long-haul airline. Emirates employ over 20,000 cabin crew who are all based in Dubai and despite the airline’s rapid growth, its current woes have also been well documented.
Here’s how Bloomberg reported the news: “The cuts at Emirates, which froze hiring last summer and hasn’t taken on new crew in months, began in the last few weeks and affect middle and upper-level managers, they said.”
Apparently, “people with knowledge of the matter” had let Bloomberg in on what was happening at Emirates but the article had little further information to build on this rumour. So how true is this rumour? After all, a spokesperson for Emirates has categorically denied the claims.
In an emailed statement, Emirates stated: “there is no change in staff turnover rates in the past weeks.” That sounds okay, but it hardly accounts for what’s been happening before then. Well, we spoke to our sources and it turns out that Bloomberg’s report is actually rather old news.
This is old news (we first reported it in January)
In fact, we reported on the redundancies that Bloomberg is talking about back in January. At the time, Emirates confirmed a small number of staff “had been impacted” by a restructuring. Some support staff and HR professionals had been made to reapply for their jobs – A number were later informed they would no longer be hired by the airline.
Since that structural review, however, Emirates has tried to avoid axing any further roles. Yes, the airline is suffering at the moment but it still has grand expansion plans and those employees will be needed sooner or later. So instead, Emirates is simply relying on natural attrition.
Only filling roles if “absolutely critical” – but that doesn’t apply to cabin crew
In the meantime, the airline announced earlier this year that it would only fill non-operational roles if “absolutely critical” – Cabin crew (at all levels) are not included in this hiring freeze. Although, that being said, staff across all business groups have been hit by a company-wide pay freeze. Bonuses will not be paid this year.
The Bloomberg article comes just days after Emirates released itself from the U.S. Laptop Ban. Since March, passengers on U.S. bound flights from Dubai International Airport have been forcibly separated from their personal electronic devices. The change in policy will come as a welcome boost for Emirates as it tries to expand its North American route network.
Emirates makes its case for U.S. operations
Emirates hasn’t publicly said much about freeing itself from the Laptop Ban (unlike when it was implemented) but today, the airline again responded to the Big Three U.S. airlines (United, Delta and American Airlines) who accuse their Persian Gulf rival of breaching Open Skies agreements through the use of illegal subsidies. Emirates released figures from a study by the Campbell-Hill Aviation Group which showed Emirates’ U.S. operations had supported more than 104,000 American jobs.
The report comes on the 25th anniversary of the Open Skies – an historic agreement that allows Emirates to fly to the U.S. freely. The study also claimed:
- Emirates contributed US D$21.3 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy.
- It’s U.S. operations brought over 580,000 new travelers to America.
- Operations generated US$3.2 billion of new trade-based revenue.
The airline also points out that it has been a big supporter of U.S. aircraft manufacturer, Boeing. Emirates already has 163 Boeing 777 aircraft in its fleet and a further 171 on order – directly supporting approximately 1,700 jobs.
Sir Tim Clark takes aim at Big Three U.S. airlines
Tim Clark, president at Emirates said the study: “shows we’ve brought hundreds of thousands of new travelers to the United States, helped increase competitive air transport options for over a million American and international travelers who flew with us, and contributed to increased demand for U.S. exports in aerospace and many other sectors.”
And taking aim at the Big Three U.S. airlines, Sir Tim commented: “Sitting on record profits and with employment in U.S. aviation at an all-time high, the three carriers know they don’t have a leg to stand on.”
He continued: “Evidence repeatedly points to the benefits that Emirates bring to U.S. consumers and the economy, and the total absence of alleged competitive harm.”
What do you think about the claims made by Emirates? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.