The novel coronaavirus pandemic induced crisis is forcing the Middle Eastern airline Emirates to cut as many as 9,000 jobs, said the president of the company.
This is the first occasion that the actual number of job cuts has been announced by the biggest long-haul carrier of the world.
There was a total of 60,000 employees with the company at the beginning of the pandemic.
A tenth of its staff had already been cut by the airline, said Sir Tim Clark.
“We will probably have to let go of a few more, probably up to 15%,” Sir Tim said.
Air travel has been virtually brought to a halt because of the pandemic resulting in a severe hit to the global airline industry.
Emirates was “not as badly off as others”, said Sir Tim in a television interview. However a steep turnaround in the fortunes of the airline is marked by the current situation of the company. He said that before the pandemic, Emirates was “heading for one of our best years ever”.
Concern among Emirates staff that things might get worse was being fueled by the job cuts sweeping the wider global aviation industry. According to reports, employees of the airline are frustrated by poor communications and transparency from the airline.
Earlier last week, redundancy notices were issued to at least 700 of the airline’s 4,500 pilots. With this, the total number of pilot who have been told that they would be losing their jobs was at 1,200 since the pandemic started.
Those pilots of the airline who fly Airbus planes, rather than Boeing aircraft, are the primary target of the job cuts.
Superjumbo Airbus A380s that has capacity to carry about 500 passengers is used by Emirates. On the other hand, lesser number of passengers is carried by the Boeing 777s and is therefore much simpler to fill during this period of decreased airline travel.
The airline has also informed thousands of cabin crew about their jobs being cut.
The global airline industry will lose more than $84bn and one million jobs this year, the International Air Transport Association, which represents 290 airlines, has forecast.
Earlier last week, warnings that there could be job cuts of 36,000 employees because of the huge fall in demand for air travel was issued to its employees by United Airlines, one of the big three in the United States.
Given “the continuing issues surrounding the pandemic”, she expects US airlines to cut up to 200,000 of their 750,000 staff this year, said Helane Becker, managing director and senior research analyst at investment firm Cowen.
There are demands by US aviation unions for the government to expand the $25bn bailout package that the government has already provided the US airlines so far. One of the preconditions of the package for the airlines was to ensure that there would not be job cuts until the end of September.
But wider benefits in doing so are seen by the IATA.
The huge number of job cuts in the aviation sector “shows the severe economic crisis facing the industry and all who depend on air connectivity”, said a spokesman of the IATA.
It is also understandable that restrictions on air travel have been imposed by governments to prevent the spread of the pandemic and keep people safe from coronavirus “but this should be done in the full knowledge of the economic and social consequences”, the spokesperson added.
(Adapted from BBC.com)