Emirates has begun the process of laying off staff in response to the economic impact of Covid-19, the airline confirmed on Sunday.
The Dubai-based airline joins a number of other carriers in the Gulf region that have reduced their workforces as part of cost control measures.
“We reviewed all possible scenarios in order to sustain our business operations, but have come to the conclusion that we unfortunately have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us,” an Emirates spokesperson said.
They added that the airline is continuously reassessing the situation and “will have to adapt to this transitional period”.
No figures on how many people would be made redundant were given, but Reuters cited sources claiming that trainee pilots and cabin crew are among those being laid off.
Emirates responded last month to reports that it was planning to cut some 30,000 jobs, saying it had made no public announcement.
A report from Bloomberg purported that Emirates could shed 30% of its workforce, including A380 pilots, so the airline can retire its superjumbos earlier than planned.
Emirates airline turned a profit of $288 million in its last financial year but its chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, predicted that the pandemic will “have a huge impact” on the airline’s 2020-21 performance.
Emirates is the latest airline to announce job losses and follows on from the UAE’s national carrier, Etihad Airways, which announced recently announced “substantial” job losses.
Kuwait Airways said last week it will lay off nearly 20% of its workforce as part of its cost reductions.
The second quarter of 2020 is proving to be the most challenging so far for airlines, even though operations are beginning to restart and state aid is beginning to trickle in.
Demand for air travel is still extremely low and airlines are burning through billions of dollars of cash.