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COVID-19: Emirates Suspending Most Passenger Operations From 25th March

Update from Emirates (22nd March 2020 20:00 Dubai time)

Having received requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travellers, Emirates will continue to operate passenger and cargo flights to the following countries until further notice, as long as borders remain open and there is demand, the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Australia, South Africa, South Korea, USA, and Canada. The situation remains dynamic.

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Emirates Limited Route Network based on Airline Route Blog

Emirates has announced that they will be suspending most passenger operations from 25th March (Wednesday) onwards.

From quarantine of new arrivals to total border closures, the travel restriction across the global has escalated to a whole new level over the past two weeks. Emirates explained that they can no longer viably operate passenger service, as the world has literally gone into quarantine. Until countries re-open their borders and travel confidence returns, only then will they will reinstate their passenger service.

“The world has literally gone into quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is an unprecedented crisis situation in terms of breadth and scale: geographically, as well as from a health, social, and economic standpoint…COVID-19 has brought all that to a sudden and painful halt over the past 6 weeks.”

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group
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Emirates Global Footprint

The airline said its international air cargo links will remain in place, deploying its fleet of 11 Boeing 777 freighters for the transport of essential goods – including medical supplies – across the world.

In addition, Emirates Ground Handling subsidiary, DNATA, will significantly reduce operations; including temporary closure of operations at some international locations, where demand is low.

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Dnata Global Footprint

Cost Reduction Measures

Quoting from HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, Emirates has a “strong balance sheet and substantial cash liquidity to survive through a prolonged period of reduced flight schedules”.

Nevertheless, a series of measures have been undertaken to contain costs, including:

  • Postponing or cancelling discretionary expenditure
  • A freeze on all non-essential recruitment and consultancy work
  • Working with suppliers to find cost savings and efficiency
  • Encouraging employees to take paid or unpaid leave in light of reduced flying capacity

Staff Salary Reduction

The majority of employees in Emirates Group will have a temporary reduction in salary for the next three months, ranging from 25% to 50%. Emirates said employees will continue to be paid their other allowances during this time. Junior level employees will be exempt from the basic salary reduction.

The airline revealed that Presidents of Emirates and Dnata – Sir Tim Clark and Gary Chapman – will take a 100% basic salary cut for three months

“Rather than ask employees to leave the business, we chose to implement a temporary basic salary cut as we want to protect our workforce and keep our talented and skilled people, as much as possible,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

“We want to avoid cutting jobs. When demand picks up again, we also want to be able to quickly ramp up and resume services for our customers.”

Flight Arrangement For Affected Passengers

If you have not started your itinerary, there is no need to panic as you can request a full refund or travel vouchers for future travel (suppose that you booked your tickets directly through Emirates).

If you have booked your tickets through travel agents, you have to contact your travel agents for further assistance with your bookings.