Emirates says it is reviewing costs like 'any responsible business' amid the pandemic

The world's biggest long-haul airline says it has not yet taken any action on redundancies

Emirates is gradually scaling up operations. AP
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Amid media speculation about possible layoffs and a reassessment of operations, Emirates said it is reviewing costs, but has not taken any action on redundancies.

“No announcement has been made regarding mass redundancies at the airline. Any such decision will be communicated in an appropriate fashion,” an Emirates representative said.

“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, even as we prepare for gradual service resumption.”

Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed has already identified cash conservation, the protection of the business and the retention of much of the airline’s skilled workforce as “top priorities through this period”, the representative said.

The Dubai airline is taking "aggressive" measures to protect its business from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that has forced the global aviation sector into near hibernation and devastated the tourism sector worldwide.

The outbreak has hit airlines across the world particularly hard, forcing airlines to go from growth to survival mode within a matter of months.

Despite the headwinds, Emirates, the world's biggest long-haul airline, plans a gradual return to operations in the coming months after reporting a 21 per cent rise in annual profit, last week.

The airline will resume regular passenger flights to nine destinations – London, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne – from May 21, just before the Eid Al Fitr holiday.

These will be the first regular, non-repatriation flights out of Dubai since March 24.

Demand for air travel, however, will be subdued in the coming years due to the fallout from the crisis, Emirates president Tim Clark told The National in an interview earlier this month.

“We have just got to accept that in the next year or two, perhaps a bit longer, demand for air travel is going to be tempered in many respects.”

Mr Clark said he views the pandemic as a black swan event for the airline industry.