Emirates Airline asks workers to embark on compulsory unpaid leave over Coronavirus spread

Emirates Airline, one of the world’s biggest airline by international traffic has joined global carriers in taking precautions in curbing the spread of coronavirus.

The airline has reportedly asked its employees to embark on an unpaid leave for up to a month due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus that has led to flight cancellations around the world.

The virus has spread to more than 60 countries, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to raise its risk assessment to its highest level. This has also prompted countries to place restrictions on the entry of foreigners. Emirates Airline has cancelled flights to Iran, Bahrain and to most parts of China because of the disease and based on directives from the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority.

What you should know: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) disclosed in an initial assessment of the coronavirus impact that global airlines are expected to lose an estimated $29.3 billion in revenue in 2020. Also, 5% lower than forecast in December, due to an estimated 4.7% decline in travel demand. This is due to the fact that the outbreak has led to fewer bookings and more event cancellations.

According to the Chief Operating Officer of Emirates, Adel al-Redha in a statement, the airline has additional resources, especially due to the cancellation of flights in some destinations, which is the reason it wants employees to utilise their leave now.

“The airline has more resources than it needs as a result of cutting frequencies or cancelling flights to some destinations, we have provided our employees with the option to avail leave or apply for voluntary unpaid leave for up to one month at a time,’’ al-Redha said.

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Meanwhile, the Emirates Group, airline’s parent company, has also asked staff in an internal email to consider taking paid and unpaid leave as it seeks to manage a measurable slowdown in its business.

Reuters reports that the group had more than 100,000 employees, including over 21,000 cabin crew and 4,000 pilots, as at the end of March 2019, the end of its last financial year.

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