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Emirates Begins First Tranche of Cabin Crew and Pilot Layoffs as COVID-19 Decimates Airline Industry

Emirates Begins First Tranche of Cabin Crew and Pilot Layoffs as COVID-19 Decimates Airline Industry

Emirates has begun the process of making cabin crew and pilots redundant in a first tranche of layoffs at the Dubai-based airline. The redundancy letters were sent out just over two weeks after sources claimed the airline was readying plans to axe up to a third of its workforce in order to weather the decimating effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the entire aviation industry.

At the time, an Emirates spokesperson denied any such plans had yet been made but today the airline confirmed that job losses would be made. “We have endeavoured to sustain the current family as is, we reviewed all possible scenarios in order to sustain our business operations, but have come to the conclusion that we, unfortunately, have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us,” a statement from the airline read.

Photo Credit: Emirates

“We continuously are reassessing the situation and will have to adapt to this transitional period. We do not view this lightly, and the company is doing everything possible to protect jobs wherever we can. Where we are forced to take tough decisions we will treat people with fairness and respect.  We will work with impacted employees to ensure they are looked after and taken care of with necessary means,” the statement continued.

The first wave of layoffs will involve pilots and cabin crew who are still in initial training, as well as anyone still within their probationary period. Despite rumours of impending redundancies, many crew will have been caught off-guard by today’s announcement after receiving no prior warning from the company.

Many crew believed unpaid leave, part-time contracts and alternative ways of working would be offered first before layoffs were announced.

Redundancy letters sent to affected staff inform them they will not be required to work during a 14-day notice period. As the vast majority of Emirates cabin and flight crew are foreign expats, the airline has told them that they may remain in the country until they can arrange a flight to their home country. Travel restrictions mean many countries are still off-limits and Emirates is currently only serving nine destinations.

“… you will be permitted to remain in your company provided accommodation or you will continue to receive a monthly accommodation allowance payment,” the redundancy letter reads.

“For the same period, a hardship payment equivalent to 24% of your contractual basic salary will be made to you. No other allowances will be paid,” the letter continues.

Sir Tim Clark, the long-serving president of Emirates is to address staffers on Monday to discuss the crisis and what steps the airline is taking to survive. Last week, Sir Tim attempted to quash rumours of possible redundancies and claimed the airline would keep hold of its entire fleet of Airbus A380’s.

Sources who also broke details of the redundancy plans claimed the airline was prepared to permanently retire 40 per cent of its A380 fleet.

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