Emirates airline staff to receive pay rise in line with higher cost of living worldwide

Increases in basic pay and fixed allowances set to start from July

Stewardesses pose in front of an Emirates Airlines A380 aircraft. AFP
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Emirates airline employees in Dubai and around the world will receive a pay increase in line with the rising cost of living and inflation globally.

Dubai-based workers will receive increases in accommodation and transport allowances and a 5 per cent raise in their basic salaries from July 1 and a 10 per cent increase in the education support allowance from September, according to an Emirates Group letter to employees seen by The National.

The basic salaries of staff based abroad will be raised to keep pace with the cost of living where they are based, with changes to fixed allowances linked to local market conditions, the company said.

“These increases are a direct response to the rise in cost of living and inflation, which we recognise has put pressure on you and your families,” the memo said.

Inflation in the UAE hit 4.8 per cent in 2022 but has been projected to fall to 3.2 per cent in 2023 and 2.8 per cent 2024, according to the Central Bank's Quarterly Economic Review 2022.

That compares with a global inflation rate of 8.7 per cent in 2022. Global inflation will fall to 7 per cent this year and 4.9 per cent in 2024, according to International Monetary Fund estimates.

The airline's decision to raise employee wages comes after it set aside a bonus pot of Dh10.6 billion ($2.9 billion) for more than 50,000 of its employees, who received 24 weeks of pay with their May salary after the company reported a record annual profit.

Airlines around the world have renegotiated wages and paid bonuses as surging inflation drives up food and energy bills for employees.

Last year, British Airways, Germany's Lufthansa and Air France all agreed to salary increases ranging from 2.5 per cent to 8 per cent.

The decision by some airlines to pay higher wages also reflects the intense competition for aviation workers, as they seek to strengthen their operations in response to high travel demand after the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is also another indicator of the industry's recovery from the devastating impact of the pandemic since 2020, which forced airlines to cut jobs and salaries, and furlough staff as much of their fleets were grounded.

The global airline industry's annual profit forecast for 2023 more than doubled on higher travel demand and lower jet fuel prices in the first half of the year, according to the International Air Transport Association's latest report in June.

The industry is expected to collectively earn $9.8 billion in net income this year, up from a December forecast of $4.7 billion, Iata said earlier this month.

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Updated: June 21, 2023, 4:29 AM