Emirates says it's trimming its workforce to match reduced level of operations. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Emirates airline has begun retrenching employees to preserve cash during the COVID-19 pandemic, the carrier confirmed.

In a statement, Dubai’s flagship airline said: “We have been doing everything possible to retain the talented people that make up our workforce for as long as we can. However, given the significant impact that the pandemic has had on our business, we simply cannot sustain excess resources and have to right size our workforce in line with our reduced operations.”

Around 25 million aviation jobs globally are at risk of disappearing with plummeting demand for air travel amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to International Air Transport Association.

The Emirates spokesperson added: “After reviewing all scenarios and options, we deeply regret that we have to let some of our people go. This was a very difficult decision and not one that we took lightly.

"The company is doing everything possible to protect the workforce wherever we can. Where we are forced to take tough decisions, we will treat people with fairness and respect. We will work with impacted employees to provide them with all possible support.”

According to an internal document sent to the employees made redundant and seen by Gulf News, the airline said it has reviewed its manpower numbers based on current requirements and future projections. "Our new resource plan will see us through the next 18 months at least, and we cannot continue having an excess of people in certain roles." 

Emirates had announced plans to cut jobs last week, without giving specific numbers. According to reports, cabin crew members are the ones being currently retrenched. However, Emirates refused to offer a specific number of the people who had been made redundant.  

Employees made redundant can continue to stay in company-provided accommodation if there is a delay in repatriating to their home country owing to travel restrictions, according to the Emirates document seen by Gulf News.

The Dubai government has said it would support the airline to tide over the travel slump fuelled by the pandemic.

The pain deepens

Meanwhile, Sharjah based Air Arabia also confirmed that it had to let go of more staff.

“With the continued lockdown of air travel and impact of the pandemic prevailing in the global aviation sector, we have unfortunately been forced to make a necessary decision to let go a section of our staff members across the organisation," the airline said in a statement.

"Over the past months, we have been taking a series of steps to protect our staff and had to resort to the current restructuring as a last alternative.

“As we continue to manage the lasting impact of COVID-19 on the industry while sustaining our business, we have kept the layoffs to the possible minimum. We are hopeful that the sector will gain traction sooner, upon which we will further strengthen our workforce across the Air Arabia family.”