MIAMI – Emirates has plans to reduce its workforce by 15% of pre-pandemic levels – more specifically, the airline will ax 9,000 of the 60,000 jobs it employed before the onset of COVID-19.

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER landing in Milano Malpensa Intl’ Airport (MXP). Photo: Andrea Ongaro @alphaoscaraviation

9000 job cuts

The news coming from Sir Tim Clark doesn’t come as much of a surprise as many airlines around the world have had to make similarly tough decisions.

Sir Tim, said: “We will probably have to let go of a few more, probably up to 15%.”

“We have endeavored to sustain the current family as is, and 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…We do not view this lightly, and the company is doing everything possible to protect the workforce wherever we can.”

The airline goes on to say that these tough decisions will be made while treating people with fairness and respect. 

It says that it will work with impacted employees to ensure they are looked after and taken care of with necessary means.

Emirates Airbus A380-861 A6-EEY Taking off from Rome Fiumicino Intl’ Airport (FCO). Photo: Andrea Ongaro @alphaoscaraviation

1400 pilot cuts job

An airline spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we are still in the process of implementing the redundancy exercise across our group, as previously communicated.”

“While we have slowly restarted operations…our footprint today is significantly smaller than before and it will take a while for us to recover to pre-pandemic levels…as a responsible business, we simply must right-size our workforce in line with our reduced operational requirements.”

The BBC reports that the pilot cuts have been focussed on those who fly the Airbus A380, rather than Boeing aircraft.

However, CNBC-TV18 reports that the latest round of layoffs includes Indian expats as well as both A380 and B777 pilots.

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER Landing in Milan Malpensa Intl’ Airport (MXP). Photo: Andrea Ongaro @alphaoscaraviation

Cuts are industry-wide

These latest moves only serve to demonstrate that Emirates is not immune to the economic impact of COVID-19.

However, Sir Tim has a point when he states that his airline is not doing as badly as other carriers.

Indeed, Air Canada had to layoff over half of its workforce, shrinking its 38,000 employees to around 18,000.

Other airlines have had to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the United States, seeking debt protection and relief from creditors.

Emirates Airbus A380-861 A6-EEY Taking off from Rome Fiumicino Intl’ Airport (FCO). Photo: Andrea Ongaro @alphaoscaraviation

These airlines have mainly been located in South America and include Aeromexico, LATAM, and Avianca.

On the other side of the globe, Thai Airways has also been going through its own bankruptcy proceedings in recent months.

It remains clear that this will continue to be a common theme within the aviation industry as it aims to cut costs, even before recovery starts.