As the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak-caused crisis deepens, Emirates is reportedly once again asking its staff, namely pilots and cabin crew, to take leave. 

Emirates is urging its pilots and cabin crew to take leave; whether paid or unpaid. “You are strongly encouraged to make use of this opportunity to volunteer for additional paid and unpaid leave,” is written in an email to pilots, as reported by Reuters on March 18, 2020. 

In 2018-2019, when the last available annual report was issued, Emirates Airline estimated its workforce to stand at 60,282 employees. 

This is the second time in a month when news emerges of Emirates asking their staff to take unpaid leave. Early in March 2020, the airline asked their staff to take holidays or one-month unpaid leave, as it had an excess of “resources” following flight cancellations and frequency cuts. 

The novel Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak has already caused traffic collapse on key Asian routes and the effect was rippling throughout the air transport network globally, including among countries without major outbreaks of COVID-19, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned earlier in March 2020. While the organization is asking airports to scrap slot rules to help cope with overcapacity, carriers are turning for their staff. 

At the time, Emirates had already suspended flights to China (except Beijing), Iran and Saudi Arabia. The airline had also reduced frequency on routes to Bahrain, Hong Kong and Singapore. Since then, multiple other countries have closed their borders for foreign passengers. As of March 18, 2020, Emirates has suspended flights to 41 destinations in its network. 

You can find the full list of Emirates’ suspended flights here

Emirates is implementing a new round of flight suspensions, namely to Italy and the United States, due to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent travel restrictions. The airline is also increasing its measures to fight the outbreak and would use thermal screening for all passengers on U.S.-bound flights from Dubai.