Dubai-based Emirates airline.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
DUBAI – Dubai-based Emirates airline will temporarily suspend passenger flights by March 25, but will continue its cargo operations, the airline announced on Sunday (March 22).
In its first announcement, Emirates said all passenger flights will be suspended, but the airline later on Sunday revised its decision to say that it will continue passenger and cargo flights to the UK, US, Philippines, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Australia, South Africa, South Korea and Canada “until further notice and as long as borders remain open and there is demand”.
Emirates said it decided to continue its passenger flights as well as cargo flights to the 13 destinations after “having received requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travelers”.
The announcement came as an increasing number of countries imposed travel bans and restrictions in an effort to curb the outbreak of the new coronavirus or Covid-19.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group, said Emirates could not “viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns”.
“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 six weeks,” Sheikh Ahmed said.
Emirates said it will continue its international air cargo links. Operations at Dnata will, however, be reduced and will result in temporary closure of operations at some international locations.
“We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services,” Sheikh Ahmed said.
Meanwhile, the airline insists there will be no job cuts, although its staff will face basic salary reduction ranging from 25 percent to 50 percent in the next three months. DAJ/Expat Media
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