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Emirates Suspends Most Passenger Operations Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Emirates Group said it temporarily suspends most passenger operations by 25 March, but it retains cargo operations, in response to lower travel demand due to coronavirus.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group said, "The world has literally gone into quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak ....we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns."

The Dubai-based airline said it will continue to operate its international air cargo links for the transport of essential goods including medical supplies across the world.

Citing requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travellers, Emirates said it will continue to operate passenger and cargo flights to the certain countries until further notice, as long as borders remain open, and there is demand. They are the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, USA, and Canada.

Meanwhile, Emirates said that it will not cut jobs, but plans to cut most employees' basic salaries by 25% to 50% for three months. Employees will continue to be paid their other allowances during this time. Junior level employees will be exempt from basic salary reduction.

The President of Emirates Tim Clark and President of airport services provider Dnata Gary Chapman plans take a 100% basic salary cut for three months.

As part of its cost-cutting measures, Emirates will postpone or cancel discretionary expenditure, freeze all non-essential recruitment and consultancy work. It is encouraging employees to take paid or unpaid leave in light of reduced flying capacity.

Last week, American Airlines announced a 75% cut to its operations. United Airlines plans to cut 90% of international services scheduled for April.

US airlines are seeking more than $50 billion in financial aid from the U.S. government, as the industry reels from the coronavirus outbreak.

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