The airline Emirates has reduced its workforce by 10% due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the layoffs could reach 15%, or 9,000 jobs, said its CEO in a statement released on Saturday.
The largest airline in the Middle East, which operates a fleet of 270 wide-body aircraft, ceased operations in late March due to the epidemic of new coronavirus. It resumed two weeks later a reduced activity and plans to serve 58 cities by mid-August, against 157 before the health crisis. Its CEO, Tim Clark, previously estimated that it would take up to four years for operations to return to “a certain degree of normalcy”. So far, Emirates has not released figures on the job cuts, the latest of which occurred last week.
Before the crisis, the company employed some 60,000 people, including 4,300 pilots and nearly 22,000 cabin crew members, according to its annual report. In a BBC interview on Saturday, Clark said his company has already cut staff by 10%. “We will probably have to lay off a little more, probably up to 15%,” he added. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that combined airline losses could reach more than $ 84 billion this year, the largest in the history of the industry. Mr. Clark said in the interview that his company was “not as bad as the others” and that the crisis had hit Emirates as it “was heading for one of the best years of (its) history”. The Dubai-based company announced an exceptional 21% increase in annual profits in March.