Emirates, the long-haul carrier, yesterday announced a dramatic cut in its passenger flight destinations from 145 locations to just 13 locations. It is a pivotal move that reflects the dramatic slowdown in traffic through Dubai, the airline’s hub, and the world’s busiest international airport.
Emirates will continue flying to the US, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada and few other select destinations. The company had earlier announced suspension of all passenger flights, and said it reversed the decision on receiving requests from governments and other customers to support the repatriation of travellers.
The UAE is home to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but has closed its borders to travellers, except those transiting through the emirates or for returning Emirati citizens.
Emirates, however, will continue operation of its cargo flights through its fleet of Boeing 777 freighters for the transport of essential goods, including medical supplies across the world.
It also said that the company will reduce salaries for majority of its employees for three months, but will not slash jobs.
The airlines across the globe have reduced their capacity in response to the global pandemic, and have imposed travel regulations. Majority of carriers are struggling to cove their costs with their fleets grounded, as countries are shutting borders to travellers.
Emirates in its statement said that it has tried to maintain passenger flights “for as long as possible” to help travellers return home amidst all travel restrictions and lockdowns.
The Emirates Group CEO and Chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in its initial statement said that it “cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders and travel confidence returns”.
Al Maktoum mentioned that the company was doing financially stable at the beginning of the year, but the sudden virus impact brought all to a sudden and painful halt in the past six weeks.