Emirates to suspend passenger flights

Davide Calabresi

As multiple countries have closed their borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, Emirates is suspending the vast majority of its passenger flights starting from March 25, 2020.

Emirates has been badly hit by an increasing number of travel bans, restrictions, and country lockdowns due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 22, 2020, the airline announced suspending the majority of its passenger flights until countries reopen their borders and travel demand returns.

The airline maintains its cargo operations, employing its fleet of 11 Boeing 777 freighters for the purpose, as well as a small amount of passenger service, such as repatriation flights. Emirates would continue passenger and cargo flights to the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, USA, and Canada “until further notice”.

“As a global network airline, we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns,” Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group, is cited in the company’s statement as saying. “By Wednesday 25 March, although we will still operate cargo flights which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended most of its passenger operations. We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services.”

Stating that travel demand remains to appear weak across markets in the short to medium term, Emirates is also employing a series of cost-saving measures, which include freezing recruitment and consultancy work, asking employees to take paid or unpaid leave, reducing basic salary by 25% to 50% for three months to majority of its staff, among others.

Emirates has a fleet of only wide-body passenger aircraft, made up of only two types: the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380. Being by far the largest operator of the type globally, Emirates has 115 Airbus A380 aircraft in its fleet, 43 of which are already grounded, according to planespotters.net data. The carrier also has 153 Triple Sevens, including 11 freighters. 34 of the wide-bodies, all passenger service aircraft, are parked as of March 23. 


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