Emirates CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum has announced that the airline will shut down passenger operations by Wednesday, March 25. Cargo flights will continue. They had already announced a 70% scale-back of flights.
Today we made the decision to temporarily suspend all passenger flights by 25 March 2020. SkyCargo operations will continue. This painful but pragmatic move will help Emirates Group preserve business viability and secure jobs worldwide, avoiding cuts. https://t.co/fkQ59ExVxA 1/3 pic.twitter.com/j7ytftExn2
— Emirates Airline (@emirates) March 22, 2020
The top executives are forgoing salary completely. The majority of employees are taking a 25% – 50% pay cut over the next three months (it wouldn’t surprise me to see this extended). However junior employees are exempt from salary reductions. The airline is not furloughing anyone at this time.
With worldwide travel restrictions, a ban on their country’s own citizens from leaving, and a suspension of visas for arriving passengers seeking to enter, there wasn’t enough business to continue. They were largely limited to repatriating citizens, and connecting passengers though many destinations were blocked for those.
The airline had been testing all cabin crew and pilots entering the country after their flights starting Friday morning. More COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the U.A.E. than in the U.S. However long lines, up to two hours, meant that social distancing of broke down in as a result of the entry process. As a result crew were being placed into quarantine pending testing.