Emirates to suspend all passenger flights from 25th March

Emirates to suspend all passenger flights from 25th March

Emirates, one of the world’s largest airlines has temporarily suspended all flights from March 25.

Emirates announced on Sunday (Mar 22) that it will “temporarily suspend" all its passenger operations from Wednesday in light of the COVID-19 outbreak that has forced countries to close their borders. 

The move makes Emirates by far the largest airline to completely ground its fleet. The U.A.E. based carrier flies the most passenger kilometres each year and has a fleet of 277 aircraft.

The deadly coronavirus has caused the world to go "into quarantine", affecting business for the airline, the chairman and CEO of the Emirates Group Sheikh Ahmed Saeed Al Maktoum said.

As more and more countries put up travel bans and restrict entry to citizens and permanent residents, the demand for international air traffic plummets further.

Employees will also be affected as cost reduction measures are put in place. These measures include encouraging employees to take paid or unpaid leave because of reduced flying capacity and a temporary basic salary cut for most Emirates Group employees for three months.

"We want to avoid cutting jobs. When demand picks up again, we also want to be able to quickly ramp up and resume services for our customers." Sheikh Ahmed said

“We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services. Cargo flights remain busy and will operate as normal “  he said.

“These are unprecedented times for the airline and travel industry, but we will get through it. Our business is taking a hit, but what matters in the long run is that we do the right thing for our customers, our employees, and the communities we serve," Sheikh Ahmed said.

Australia’s national airline grounded its fleet last week in light of the COVID-19 outbreak .