Emirates has indefinitely postponed five cabin crew recruitment events in Italy as the country grapples with the largest COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak in Europe. According to John Hopkins University, which has been tracking all reported Coronavirus cases worldwide, Italy has over 4,600 confirmed cases and nearly 200 deaths linked to the outbreak.
Last week, the Dubai-based airline joined a growing list of carriers who have urged staffers to take voluntary unpaid leave because of a massive slump in passenger demand. At the time, however, the offer did not apply to cabin crew and Emirates continues to seek new hires around the world.
Emirates employs cabin crew from 160 countries and holds various recruitment events in cities worldwide. Some of these open days can attract hundreds of candidates vying to be selected, lining up for hours to hand over their resumes.
At the moment, the airline has only suspended its recruitment events in Italy, including open days that were scheduled to take place in Milan and Florence. Northern Italy has been hit hardest by the outbreak but other events in Rome and Catania have also been postponed until further notice.
Events are still planned to go ahead in 37 other countries over the next month, including Germany which has recorded the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Europe.
Elsewhere, Emirates plans to hold an Open Day in San Francisco on March 12, despite a number of companies in the Bay area urging their employees to work from home after California saw a spike in cases and a state of emergency was announced.
The UAE has urged its citizens and other residents to avoid travel to areas hardest hit by the Coronavirus and has warned returning travellers that they may face being put in quarantine. Schools in the Gulf state will be closed for two weeks from March 8 in an attempt to limit the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Health authorities have barred most flights to and from mainland China and Iran but Emirates continues to operate services to Beijing, Italy and other impacted countries such as Japan and South Korea.
Visitors to the UAE from China, Italy, Lebanon, Thailand and Syria are being subjected to medical tests, including a nasal swab and temperature tests. Transit passengers are not being fully tested but are subject to temperature tests.
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 used by some of the biggest names in journalism.