A member of Emirates cabin crew has apparently jumped from a third-floor balcony at the airline’s headquarters in what appears to be an attempted suicide. The crew member, who is of Lebanese descent, is said to be seriously injured although is still alive after being treated at the scene by emergency medical personnel. He has been transported to a local Dubai hospital where he is said to be recovering. We have identified the crew member involved but will not be sharing his name.
The incident happened at Emirates’ global headquarters which is just a stone’s throw away from Dubai International Airport. The large open-plan atrium in to which the crew member jumped is open and accessible to the public and includes an Emirates gift store and Costa Coffee concession. The building even has its own Metro stop, aptly named Emirates.
Several sources at the airline have confirmed to us that the crew member deliberately jumped from the third floor in what was a suicide attempt. He has allegedly recorded a voice message explaining his motives in which he says the airline “doesn’t give a shit about their employees”.
The audio recording continues: “I jumped from the third floor because it’s unfair. I’m oppressed. No one helped me at Emirates, no one… I did this as a lesson to everyone who is struggling in this company. I would like you all to send this and I want all the media to write about it because it’s unfair what is happening to us. It’s unfair.”
The crew member had allegedly gone to the airline’s headquarters in order to appeal being sacked but his dismissal was upheld during a meeting with his manager and HR representatives. Sources even claim the crew member sent a selfie of himself on the ambulance stretcher in order to spread word of what he had done.
In a leaked internal memo, Emirates confirmed the incident saying: “Today, one of our colleagues was hurt in an incident in the EGHQ atrium (Emirates Group Headquarters). He received immediate medical attention and was brought to the hospital. We have activated all possible help and support. Management will undertake a full investigation of the incident.”
“This is a difficult and sensitive time for everybody at EGHQ, particularly for our colleague who was hurt, and those who witnessed it and rushed to help. They all need our support now and we must respect their need for privacy.”
Emirates has told its staff not to “spread information that is likely to be sensitive or harm our colleagues in any way…. Please do not click/film or post photos/videos related to the incident and be mindful of what you say on social media.”
In an apparent attempt to silence those rumours, Emirates has disabled a popular Facebook group for at least 24-hours.
Today’s incident is reminiscent of last year’s tragic cabin crew suicide at Entebbe airport where a female member of Emirates cabin crew apparently jumped from an open door of a parked Boeing 777. The crew member allegedly held a glass bottle to her neck as she jumped in order to cause fatal injury.
In that case, sources claimed the crew member had been placed under increasing pressure from bosses at the airline. Controversial policies including its “appearance management programme” and early forced retirement policy were highlighted as major possible factors in the crew members decision to end her life.
This latest incident will again shine a spotlight on Emirates’ workplace culture. A recent forum event at the airline highlighted how unhappy many cabin crew are at the moment and there is much concern about a new approach to discipline that has seen crew members sacked over minor indiscretions.
We’ve contacted Emirates for comment but the airline has so far refused to accept our email.
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.