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Emirates Introduces COVID-19 Insurances to Passengers, Cuts Crew Costs

Emirates aircraft in Dubai (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hisham Qadri)

The aviation industry is struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. Emirates, a Dubai-based airline, is trying a new method to boost confidence for international travel by introducing a brand-new insurance to passengers.

Emirates’ new program will compensate passengers if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel. According to an airline press release, the program is valid from now until the end of October and offered for free to Emirates customers regardless of the passenger’s nationality, class of travel or destination. Passengers will be covered for medical expenses up to 150,000 euros ($176,000) and quarantine costs of 100 euros per day for 14 days. The insurance is valid for 31 days from the start of the passenger’s journey. Passengers will be covered automatically when booking with the carrier and don’t need to register.

“We are now taking it to a next level, by being the first in the industry to offer our customers free global cover for COVID-19 medical expenses and quarantine costs should they incur these costs during their travel,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group

In the meantime, Emirates is also trying to cut costs. According to Reuters, some pilots and cabin crew had been offered an unpaid leave for four months off from August to November. However, the staff may still receive benefits such as company-provided accommodations.

An Emirates spokeswoman confirmed unpaid leave was offered to staff.

Earlier, Sir Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, told the BBC the airline will slash 15 percent of its workforce in response to COVID-19. The group currently has 60,000 staff.

Earlier, Emirates announced a 32nd consecutive year of profit and recorded a profit of $456 million in 2019-20. Meanwhile, the chairman has warned the aviation industry is vulnerable.

“Even without a pandemic, our industry has always been vulnerable to a multitude of external factors. In 2019-20, the further strengthening of the US dollar against major currencies eroded our profit to the tune of AED 1.0 billion (USD 272 million),” Al Maktoum said.

Since Dubai reopened on Jul. 7 and the travel restrictions in some countries have been lifted, Emirates has restarted services gradually. Service to Los Angeles was resumed on July 22, and flights to Boston will be launched on Aug. 15. Earlier, the airline announced its iconic A380 is going back to the skies as the services to London and Paris were resumed. Emirates has also announced that the second daily service to London will restart from Aug. 01 since the coronavirus curve in the U.K. has been flattened.

Pete Ainsley


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