Emirates has told staffers that temporary wage cuts introduced as a cost-cutting measure because of the severe disruption caused by the Corona crisis will be extended by a further three months through to the end of September 2020. In the last week, Emirates has also confirmed it will make swathes of its workforce redundant and the airline’s president, Sir Tim Clark has grimly warned that it could take four years for the decimated aviation sector to recover from the pandemic.
Cabin crew, who until now had seen their wages cut by 25 per cent, will now have their basic pay slashed by 50 per cent from July to September 30. In an internal memo, the airline said the “decision has not been taken lightly but reflects the severe conditions we are facing in our company and across the aviation industry”.
Other affected departments include pilots, engineers and many other ground-based employees. Flight crew salaries are made up of a basic monthly wage, alongside flying allowances and layover Ad Diem payments which are only paid for flights worked – the majority of cabin crew and pilots remain grounded and crew who do operate a flight must then self-quarantine for two weeks on arrival back in Dubai.
Some cabin crew claim they will now be expected to live on around 65 Dirhams (USD $18) per day. Free accommodation and ‘live out’ allowances for certain staff will continue to be offered by the airline. The lowest-paid employees, including in-flight cleaners known as ‘Cabin Service Attendants’ will not have their salaries cut.
At the end of May, Emirates confirmed it would start making cabin crew and other employees redundant because of the severe downturn facing the industry. While declining to say how many staff would be laid-off, the airline it would “have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us.”
An Emirates spokesperson said the carrier had “endeavoured to sustain the current family as is” and that the company had “reviewed all possible scenarios in order to sustain our business operations” before deciding to proceed with the redundancies. “We do not view this lightly, and the company is doing everything possible to protect jobs wherever we can,” a statement from the airline continued.
Several sources claimed Emirates was making plans to slash its workforce by up to a third. There are also suggestions the airline could permanently retire up to 40 per cent of its Airbus A380 fleet but Sir Tim has since said that he hopes the superjumbo fleet won’t be downsized. Emirates is, however, in talks with Airbus to cancel its remaining and final order of eight A380’s which are still to be delivered.
From June 15, Emirates will resume regularly scheduled passenger flights to 29 destinations using its Boeing 777 fleet. Authorities have now lifted a ban on transit passengers passing through airport’s in the UAE but a ban on inbound tourism remains in force.
Etihad Airways, based in neighbouring Abu Dhabi, has also announced “significant” job losses because of the Corona crisis and will extend its own wage cuts through to the end of September.
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.