MIAMI — Emirates Airlines (EK) has today informed the termination of employment for around 192 pilots during their probationary period.
According to people familiar with the matter, the affected pilots were summoned to EK’s training center, where they were notified of the termination notice.
In a company letter addressed to its pilots, the airline reminded them that during their probation, their contractual notice period was seven calendar days.
However, although the notice period starts on June 1, 2020, the company has agreed to extend the period to 14 days, paying contractual basic salary and fixed allowances for that time as a “gesture of goodwill.”
Thus, the last day of service (LDS) for affected EK pilots will be on June 15, 2020. Affected pilots will continue to receive the usual company medical benefits during this extended notice period and will not be required to work during such time.
Also, should any repatriation opportunities arise prior June 15, EK states that its pilots may choose to bring their LDS forward, having the remainder of their notice paid in lieu.
Sponsorships and Visas
Regarding pilots’ sponsorships and visas, these will be canceled on their LDS, after which there is a 29-day grace period that will permit them to remain in the country, subject to any changes in the immigration laws of the UAE.
However, if pilots find themselves unable to repatriate due to travel restrictions, their visas will be extended beyond their LDS, the letter states.
In addition, once the LDS period is over, pilots will be permitted to remain at their provided company accommodations and will continue to receive a monthly accommodation allowance payment as applicable.
Furthermore, a hardship payment equivalent to 25% of pilots’ contractual basic salary will be made during the period beyond their LDS. According to the letter, no other allowances will be paid.
This last measure will be reviewed by EK on a monthly basis and will be applicable for the duration of the visa extension only.
Protecting jobs amid the current crisis
The Dubai Government Media Office tweeted a statement from an EK spokesperson saying that while the airline has reviewed all possible scenarios in order to sustain its business operations, it has come to the conclusion that it had “to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people” that worked for the company.
According to gulfnews.com, the airline spokesperson said EK was continuously reassessing the situation and would have to adapt to this transitional period.
The carrier’s spokesperson added, “We do not view this lightly, and the company is doing everything possible to protect jobs wherever we can.”
Furthermore, the airline assured that where it was forced to make tough decisions, it would “treat people with fairness and respect,” working with impacted employees “to ensure they are looked after and taken care of with necessary means.”
In mid-May, EK was understood to be conducting a “thorough review of costs” according to a spokesperson speaking to Arabian Business.
At the time, the airline was 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.