An Emirates Airline aircraft sits on the tarmac.
Inayat-ur-Rahman, Senior Business Reporter
The Dubai-based Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul airline, on Sunday confirmed that it laid off some workers as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which brought air travel to a halt.
“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,” the airline’s spokesperson told Gulf Today on Sunday.
However, the Dubai-based carrier didn’t disclose how many employees were affected by this latest decision.
“We are continuously reassessing the situation and will have to adapt to this transitional period. We do not view this lightly, and the company is doing everything possible to protect the workforce wherever we can. Where we are forced to take tough decisions we will treat people with fairness and respect. We will work with impacted employees to ensure they are looked after and taken care of with necessary means,” the spokesperson said.
Due to the unprecedented business environment the Group has not declared a dividend.
“As our chairman has said, conserving cash, safeguarding our business, and preserving as much of as our skilled workforce as possible, remain our top priorities through this period,” the airline said earlier.
Dubai government had earlier announced that it would inject equity to support the state-owned carrier.
Meanwhile, Emirates Group has recently announced its 32nd consecutive year of profit, against a drop in revenue mainly attributed to reduced operations during the planned DXB runway closure in the first quarter, and the impact of flight and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the fourth quarter.
Released last week in its 2019-20 Annual Report, the Emirates Group posted a profit of Dhs 1.7 billion (US$ 456 million) for the financial year ended 31 March 2020. The Group’s revenue reached Dhs104.0 billion (US$ 28.3 billion).
The Group’s cash balance was Dhs 25.6 billion (US$ 7.0 billion), up 15% from last year mainly due to a strong business performance up to February 2020 and lower fuel cost compared to previous year.
Due to the unprecedented business environment from the ongoing pandemic, and to protect the Group’s liquidity position, the Group has not declared a dividend for this financial year after last year’s dividend of Dhs 500 million (US$ 136 million) to the Investment Corporation of Dubai.
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said: “For the first 11 months of 2019-20, Emirates and dnata were performing strongly, and we were on track to deliver against our business targets. However, from mid-February things changed rapidly as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world, causing a sudden and tremendous drop in demand...”
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