Emirates has announced various responses to COVID-19, as the situation continues to develop. Most interesting, this morning, was the report that Emirates will continue to operate some passenger and cargo flights to Australia until further notice, “as long as borders remain open, and there is demand.”
“The situation remains dynamic, and travellers can check their flight status on emirates.com,” Emirates said this morning in an email.
Flights to most destinations, however, will cease from the 25th of March. This does not include cargo service, which will remain in operation, as will routes to 13 countries including, as we mentioned, Australia, as well as the US, the UK, Switzerland and Singapore. This is in response to requests from governments and customers to aid in the repatriation process.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group said: “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.”
“Until January 2020, the Emirates Group was doing well against our current financial year targets. But COVID-19 has brought all that to a sudden and painful halt over the past 6 weeks.”
The Chairman and Chief Executive then added: “As a global network airline, we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns. By Wednesday 25 March, although we will still operate cargo flights which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended most of its passenger operations.”
“We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services.”
The Emirates Group has also undertaken a series of measures to contain costs, as the outlook for travel demand in the short to medium term has plummeted. Notably, this includes the Presidents of Emirates and dnata – Sir Tim Clark and Gary Chapman – who will take a 100% basic salary cut for three months.
Emirates is also encouraging employees to take paid or unpaid leave in light of reduced flying capacity, and introduced a temporary reduction of basic salary for the majority of Emirates Group employees for three months, ranging from 25% to 50%: “employees will continue to be paid their other allowances during this time [and] junior level employees will be exempt from basic salary reduction,” Emirates said to media in an email.
In addition, the airline has been implementing enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures on all of its aircraft departing Dubai as a precaution, and worked closely with airports to implement screening measures as required by the local authorities.