Published: Mon, March 23, 2020
Markets | By Otis Pena

Emirates to Suspend All Passenger Operations From March 25

Emirates to Suspend All Passenger Operations From March 25

Monday's announcement came hours after Dubai carrier Emirates announced it would suspend all passenger flights by March 25.

Emirates, which runs the world's biggest airline by worldwide traffic, will suspend all its passenger operations from March 25 as the spread of the coronavirus hammers global travel demand.

Emirates Group CEO and Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum had said in an initial statement Sunday that the company found itself in a situation where it "cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders and travel confidence returns".

Emirates and Etihad are heavily reliant on transit passengers, using their Dubai and Abu Dhabi hubs - will collectively saw some 88 million passengers in 2018 - as a crossroads to the world.

Gulf countries have imposed various restrictions to combat the spread of the virus, particularly in the air transport sector.

The Emirati authorities "have made a decision to suspend all inbound and outbound passenger flights and the transit of airline passengers in the UAE for two weeks as part of the precautionary measures taken to curb the spread of the Covid-19", reported WAM.

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'This is an unprecedented crisis situation in terms of breadth and scale: geographically, as well as from a health, social, and economic standpoint'.

Earlier, the state-owned UAE carrier had already said it was about to suspend some 70 percent of its network and asked staff to go on unpaid leave as the industry suffers one of the worst hits because of the novel coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 300,000 around the world.

"Until January 2020, the Emirates Group was doing well against our current financial year targets". But COVID-19 has brought all that to a sudden and painful halt over the past 6 weeks.

To save costs further, it said it is temporarily reducing the basic salaries of the majority of Emirates Group employees for three months, with cuts ranging from 25-50%.

"We want to avoid cutting jobs", Mr Al Maktoum said. Our business is taking a hit, but what matters in the long run is that we do the right thing for our customers, our employees, and the communities we serve...

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