Dubai-based air carrier Emirates asked its pilots to take unpaid leave for a period of 12 months. However, the carrier would cover the flight crew expenses related to accommodation and medical care.
On November 4, 2020, a spokesman of Emirates confirmed to Gulf News that the airline offered some of their pilots to take unpaid leave for 12 months with the possibility of being recalled back on duty much earlier. Emirates explained that the exact time when pilots would be asked to return to the flight deck depended on the pace of travel demand recovery.
The airline’s decision would force its pilots to face financial turmoil as the majority of Emirates flight crew are citizens of foreign countries and the government of UAE does not provide foreigners financial backing. Meanwhile, a spokesman clarified that the airline would continue to take care of pilots’ accommodation and medical covering.
“We continue to do all we can to protect our talent pool for post-pandemic business recovery, but we also need to consider the impact of the current situation on our operations and cost base. Across the Group, we are implementing various offers including unpaid leave and more flexible working time models,” said the spokesman.
Earlier in July 2020, the airline announced its plans to cut as many as 9,000 jobs to save costs and deal with the sharp drop in the air travel demand. Before the COVID-19 crisis, Emirates had a total of 60,000 employees.