Following months of speculation, Emirates has finally disclosed the number of employees that are being laid off due the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Gulf carrier said that out of 60000 company’s workers, 10% lost their jobs between the start of the pandemic in one of industry’s biggest series of cuts yet.

However, it may not be enough to save the carrier. Tim Clark, president of the Emirates, announced that the percentage of fired workers will most likely rise to 15%, which means that as many as 9000 employees will be lost over the next weeks.

“Given the significant impact that the pandemic has had on our business, we simply cannot sustain excess resources and have to right size our workforce in line with our reduced operations” – Emirate’s spokesperson explained in a statement published by Al-Monitor. He called the lay-offs “a difficult decision”, which company deeply regrets.

While the company has recently renewed flights and even grew its network to 52 destinations, it estimates that a return to pre-crisis level of 157 destinations may take up to four years.

As a result, most of the fired workers are pilots and cabin crew who used to work on carrier’s flagship Airbus A380. Emirates is one of the few airlines that operate only the wide-body airplanes and mainly serve long-haul flights while exploiting its superjumbo jets, while another state-owned carrier – Flydubai – complements it while covering shorter distances and lower price ranges. 

 
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Emirates has continued its quest in June to cut costs, as the airline has enacted to lay off its staff, including pilots and flight attendants during a period of economic uncertainty.