It’s probably true to say the relationship between Emirate’s management and the staff they lead are at a pretty low point at the moment. While the airline has introduced a number of passenger-pleasing enhancements over the last few months – including its new “gamechanger” First Class and revamped onboard lounge – staff and especially cabin crew haven’t faired so well.
But while the issues causing the low morale amongst staff has been talked about widely, it’s only fair to also mention the efforts Emirates is making to repair relations. Most notably, we’ve learnt of quite a big management shakeup – especially in the cabin crew division – over the last few weeks.
First, the airline’s vice president of cabin crew, Lynda Briody suddenly resigned – her exit was swift (apparently for personal reasons) and so too were a number of less senior cabin crew managers. In Briody’s place, Thomas Ney, a German-born aviation executive who was formerly at airberlin, has joined Emirates heading up a new role as the head of the Service Delivery department.
Both Ney and his manager, the airline’s chief operations officer, Adel Al Redha have moved to reassure cabin crew that they are listening to their concerns – and willing to change things up to make things better. There’s even a staff meeting planned in the next few days for cabin crew to air their grievances with Ney in person.
On a more positive note though, Emirates has also just held its annual awards ceremony to honour its top employees for their “extraordinary commitment to excellence, performance, and service,” – including a member of cabin crew.
Named after the Arabic word for ‘star’, the Najm Chairman’s Awards recognises the airline’s employees who have gone above and beyond expectations. To put it in perspective, only five people received an award this year – and only 70 others have been recognised in such a way since the award’s started 11 years ago.
As His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, the chairman of Emirates put it: “Every year, we come together to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our employees. Their hard work, tenacity, compassion, and continued pursuit of excellence are vital to the success of Emirates.”
“Whether individually or collectively, we firmly believe that the most outstanding contributors who have gone beyond expectations should be recognised and rewarded.”
One of the five to be picked from thousands of submissions this year was Eissam Mostafa Mohamed Ouf, a member of cabin crew who helped save a young baby’s life. Eissam was working on a flight from London to Dubai when he heard a commotion in the cabin.
A baby was choking and had fallen unconscious – using his First Aid skills, Eissam quickly reacted and delivered a series of back slaps and chest thrusts to dislodge the blockage in the baby’s throat. Within moments, the baby had regained conciousness and no longterm damage was caused.
Somewhat downplaying the incident, a spokesperson for Emirates said of Eissam: “His quick thinking and correct administration of first aid saved the baby’s life.” A huge congratulations to Eissam and everyone else who was honoured.