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An Emirates 777-300ER lines up on the runway for a test flight at Paine Field. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Bailey)

Emirates Lays Off 600 Pilots, 6,500 Cabin Crew in Second Wave of Job Cuts

Emirates has continued to make changes to its workforce in order to reduce costs in response to economic difficulty caused by coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the government-owned airline took the decision to lay off hundreds of employees in the second phase of job cuts.

Even though the airline has not given details with regard to how many people were let go, according to sources with knowledge of the matter, 400 Airbus A380 and 200 Boeing 777 pilots, as well as 6500 cabin crew and some engineers have been let go. The airline has also extended 50% pay cuts until September to preserve cash as the majority of the airline’s A380 and Boeing 777 fleet remains grounded.

“Given the significant impact that the pandemic has had on our business, we simply cannot sustain excess resources and have to right-size our workforce in line with our reduced operations,” said an Emirates spokesperson.

“After reviewing all scenarios and options, we deeply regret that we have to let some of our people go.”

The move comes as no surprise as the airline reiterated in their statement after the first wave stating that they were continuously reassessing the situation and would have to adapt to this transitional period, indicating that it was the first phase of the layoff strategy, and more cuts might follow in the near future if revaluations revealed it was necessary to protect the airline financially.

The state-owned flag carrier launched the first wave of redundancies two weeks ago laying off 180 pilots undergoing their A380 training and 400 trainee cabin crew, all within their probation period.

As the airline continues to take aggressive cost management measures, and other necessary steps to safeguard its business, whilst planning for the business resumption and reassesses the financial situation, it appears that the aviation giant will continue axing up jobs in the months ahead.

“We just can’t keep our employees doing nothing for so long so we’re going to have to let some of them go, unfortunately,” said Tim Clark, the chief executive of the airline, in an interview last week with a Gulf-based media outlet.

However, he believes that the aviation industry will return to normality in 2021 and expects that Emirates will be able to fly its entire fleet by 2022.

“I’m not saying people have got short memories but they are anxious to get on with their lives, they’re anxious to enjoy their lives and they all have aspirations. They may be conditioned by difficulties of furloughs and not having enough money from salaries etc. That’s going to dampen demand in the short-term, but after that, once we’re well into 2021, then I think things will change.”

Meanwhile, the airline has resumed flight operations to 30 destinations including Bahrain, London Heathrow, Manchester, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, New York JFK, Chicago, Toronto, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Perth and Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Manila.

Travelers will be able to fly between destinations in the Asia Pacific, Europe or the Americas, with a connection in Dubai.

The airline grounded its entire A380 fleet and currently operates only a handful of Boeing 777s on a skeleton network across the globe.

Bulent Imat
Bulent Imat
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