Dubai based carrier Emirates has confirmed it will be reinstating full pay for employees by October. The airline introduced pay puts in March as it was forced to ground international operations due to the global pandemic.
The announcement comes just days after media reports that the airline received AED 7.3 billion ($2bn) from the Dubai government to help it handle the pandemic.
Several Emirates Employees confirmed at the end of last week that they had received letters from HR detailing the return to full salaries over the coming weeks. This information was then verified when a spokesperson for the airline told local media outlet Arabian Business that “We can confirm that Emirates will restore full salaries of our employees from next month.”
The carrier implemented widespread salary cuts in March as a way to reduce cash flow during the pandemic. Amid changing border restrictions, Emirates grounded all planes earlier this year. Due to the lack of domestic operations, middle-eastern carriers were some of the hardest hit by the outbreak. The announcement that salaries are to be reinstated in full could indicate that the worst is over.
We reported last week that Emirates had quietly received an AED 7.3 billion ($2bn) bailout loan after the crown prince of Dubai promised to keep the airline afloat during the outbreak. The money will be a massive help in ensuring employees are fully compensated for their work. However, the impact of the pandemic is not fully covered by the loan.
Emirates is expected to reduce its workforce by around 15%; that’s about 9,000 jobs. Additionally, the airline recently asked cabin crew to take unpaid-leave between September 1st and November 30th.
Having said that, it may only be a short-term reduction. The airline recently announced that it plans to be operating at 100% of its pre-COVID levels by summer 2021. And it’s wasting no time in ramping up its network.
Just last week, Emirates announced new destinations in Africa and Asia as well as eyeing up routes to Dublin. Although other airlines and industry experts expect the recovery to take until at least 2024, the carrier is keen to recover as soon as possible. If the airline continues to expand its network, the 9,000 jobs which currently hang in the balance may be deemed necessary. Indeed, the $2 billion loan will help carry it through the tough patch.
While the airline plans to serve its existing network of 143 destinations, plus a few more, the chances of it operating the same number of flights is slim. As well as a lack of demand and volatile border regulations, social distancing on flights may mean fewer passengers.
Emirates has remained firm that it will not retire any of its A380s early, despite speculation that the recent demand decrease could warrant such a decision. The airline has said it plans to keep its A380s for another decade despite the A380 program shutting down. Emirates returned its superjumbo jets to the skies at the start of August since the March grounding.