Emirates has issued a list of the countries to which it will continue to operate cargo flights for as long as borders remain open and there continues to be demand, following the coronavirus outbreak.
They include the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, USA, and Canada.
The airline continues to maintain vital international air cargo links for economies and communities, deploying its fleet of 777 freighters for the transport of essential goods including medical supplies across the world.
Commenting on the situation, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said:
“The world has literally gone into quarantine due to the covid-19 outbreak. This is an unprecedented crisis situation in terms of breadth and scale, geographically, as well as from a health, social, and economic standpoint.
“Until January 2020, the Emirates Group was doing well against our current financial year targets. But Covid-19 has brought all that to a sudden and painful halt over the past six weeks.
“As a global network airline, we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns.
“By Wednesday 25 March, although we will still operate cargo flights which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended most of its passenger operations. We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services.”
Sheikh Ahmed added: “Emirates Group has a strong balance sheet, and substantial cash liquidity, and we can, and will, with appropriate and timely action, survive through a prolonged period of reduced flight schedules, so that we are adequately prepared for the return to normality.”
The Emirates Group has undertaken a series of measures to contain costs, as the outlook for travel demand remains weak across markets in the short to medium term.
This includes postponing or cancelling discretionary expenditure; a freeze on all non-essential recruitment and consultancy work; working with suppliers to find cost savings and efficiency; encouraging employees to take paid or unpaid leave in light of reduced flying capacity; and a temporary reduction of basic salary for the majority of Emirates Group employees for three months, ranging from 25 to 50 per cent.
In addition, the presidents of Emirates and Dnata, Sir Tim Clark and Gary Chapman, have effectively agreed to forego their salaries for three months.
On the decision to reduce basic salary, Sheikh Ahmed said: “Rather than ask employees to leave the business, we chose to implement a temporary basic salary cut as we want to protect our workforce and keep our talented and skilled people, as much as possible.
“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.”
Visit gov.uk for the latest coronavirus travel advice.