The coronavirus lock-down has hit many airlines – big and small – quite rigorously. Several airlines have announced layoffs and salary cuts in the recent months. The state airline of the city of Dubai, UAE – Emirates, has fired around 600 pilots today, on June 9, 2020. This is indeed, one of the largest layoff incident in the airline industry in recent weeks. The latest round of layoffs takes the overall toll of pilots being sacked by Emirates to 792, including the layoffs which were seen earlier in the year, since March, 2020.
The pilots sacked today were first officers, under training for type-rating on the Airbus A380 aircraft. Most of these were on probation, as sources stated. While the notice period for pilots on probation is 7 days, Emirates is extending this to 14 days, as a ‘gesture of goodwill.’ The company stated that the sacked pilots will continue to receive their company benefits till June 23, 2020. Furthermore, if any of them are unable to repatriate because of travel restrictions, Emirates shall also be extending their visa till the last day of their service.
Over the years, Emirates has become a ginormous operator of wide-body aircraft like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777. With air travel expected to stay low for a couple more years, the airline has serious plans to retire a significant number of old and inept aircraft. As the fleet shrinks, the airline also needs to manage the cabin crew, ground support crew and other non-technical personnel accordingly.
An Emirates spokesperson stated:
‘Emirates has been doing everything possible to retain the talented people that make up our workforce for as long as we can. However, 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.’
The company has also said that they shall work with the impacted employees so as to provide them with possible financial support in these afflicting times. Earlier, various reports had also stated that the Emirates has plans to reduce its workforce by around 30 percent, which corresponds to about 25,000 employees.
Emirates has been one of the first airline to restart operations last month. However, passenger loads have been quite less, as expected, and are expected to stay low for a few months to come. Even still, experts predict that commercial aviation will not return to pre-pandemic level for atleast a couple years. In such uncertain times, it is understandable to see airlines taking rigorous steps to stay afloat right now, so as to remain sustainable for years to come.
What do you think of the current state of Emirates? Do you think shrinking a large workforce, as the airline plans to do, will help the airline stay sustainable? Let us know in the comments!