MIAMI – Dubai-based carrier Emirates (EK) is understood to be conducting a “thorough review of costs” according to a spokesperson speaking to Arabian Business.

Significant Job Cuts Planned?

The airline is planning to cut around 30,000 jobs to reduce costs which represents a decrease in its workforce by 30% from the current 105,000 recorded in March 2020, according to Reuters.

An Emirates spokeswoman was keen to add that no official announcement has been made yet but the airline is looking into it.

PHOTO: Emirates.

“Any such decision will be communicated in an appropriate fashion. Like any responsible business would do, our executive team has directed all departments to conduct a thorough review of costs and resourcing against business projections”.

This news comes following the Emirates Group recording a US$456m profit in 2019-20 and the airline division making a US$288m profit as well.

The airline did concede however that the pandemic had severely affected its fourth-quarter results for 2019.

A380 To Be Decommissioned?

It has emerged also that the airline is looking to decommission around 40% of its Airbus A380 fleet, which would bring its total fleet count to 69 aircraft if such a public announcement is made.

This news also comes after Sir Tim Clark, the President of EK, declared that the “A380 is over” as well as stating in Gulf newspaper The National that the airline would be around 20-30% smaller after the Coronavirus pandemic has passed.

This has been a consistent message within EK, especially with the CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum warning that the pandemic will impact the airline hugely.

“We expect it will take 18 months at least, before travel demand returns to a semblance of normality.”

“[We will] take aggressive cost management measures, and other necessary steps to safeguard our business.”

An Increasingly Fast Farewell to the A380?

If EK does publicly reveal this alleged cut of the A380 fleet, then it appears it will follow the same speed in farewells as the likes of the Boeing 747.

Larger legacy carriers have been keen to retire the far larger and more expensive aircraft in its fleet in order to reduce cash burn in the business.

Picture from Airbus.

Qantas (QF) has been retiring some 747 units, with the likes of KLM also accelerating such retirement plans.

While EK is not getting rid of all of the aircraft, it will mean fewer of them in the sky unless purchased on the second-hand market.

Unsurprising Given Global Patterns?

Overall, it is probable to admit that job cuts were likely at the airline anyway, especially with the amount of services it had suspended.

With neighbors Etihad (EY) and Qatar Airways (QA) also announcing job cuts, there was no way that jobs were probably going to be preserved by EK, even if it had generated a profit.

Other airlines globally are making the hard decision to cut jobs, with Air Canada (AC) being the latest to announce a cut by 20,000, representing over half of its workforce.

Alas, as Al Maktoum had mentioned, its 4Q-2019 results had been severely affected, meaning the airline could not continue to go down its current path without making some structural but important changes to ensure the viability of the carrier.