عربــى

EGX 30 9,455.38 0.32%



Emirates airline to ground all passenger aircraft from over coronavirus

Emirates airline to ground all passenger aircraft from over coronavirus

Emirates confirmed on Monday that all its passenger aircraft will be grounded, following the latest directive from authorities to suspend all incoming and outgoing flights in the country, as part of precautionary measures to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The suspension will take effect from Wednesday, March 25, the airline said in a statement sent to Zawya.

 “As per the latest UAE government directive, Emirates will temporarily suspend all passenger flights for two weeks from 25 March 2020. These measures are in place for the protection of communities against the spread of COVID-19, and we are in full support,” a spokesperson said.

The Dubai-based carrier also clarified that it continues to operate freighter flights, to help maintain vital international air cargo links for economies and communities. 

The Civil Aviation Authority announced late Sunday that all passenger airline services, primarily at Dubai International, will be halted temporarily from Wednesday for 14 days.

Financial impact

Emirates Group, the operator of Emirates airline, had earlier said that due to the slowdown in travel caused by mounting fears over the coronavirus, it would be closing most of its routes and cut staff salaries by up to 50 percent. 

It had said that a few flights would continue to operate to accommodate requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travellers.

The airline has been among the hardest hit since the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 300,000 people, erupted in China in late December. It has asked its tens of thousands of staff, including cabin crew and pilots, to take unpaid leave, as the company finds ways to cut outgoings and stay afloat amid the crisis.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Group, admitted that the financial impact caused by the pandemic has reached “unprecedented” levels, and that the company can no longer continue operating passenger aircraft until things will go back to normal again.

“As a global network airline, we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger service until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns,” he said.

The state-owned company’s airport and travel services subsidiary, dnata, has also temporarily closed some of its branches overseas, while two of its top executives will not receive their basic wages for three months.

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,” Al Maktoum said in a statement

“Until January 2020, the Emirates Group was doing well against our current financial targets. But COVID-19 has brought all that to a sudden and painful halt over the past six weeks,” he added.

He, however, pointed out that the company has a strong balance sheet and substantial cash liquidity.

“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,” he said.

“The Emirates Group has strong liquidity, with a healthy cash position but it is prudent that it takes steps to reduce costs at this time. Emirates remains committed to serving its markets and looks forward to resuming a normal flight schedule as soon as that is permitted by the relevant authorities.”

Among the airlines operating in the UAE, Emirates has grounded the largest number of passenger aircraft so far.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) appealed for governments in the Middle East and Africa region on Thursday to provide emergency support, to save carriers from folding up.

It is estimated that in the UAE alone, companies in the air transport industry could lose some $2.8 billion in revenues, while more than 163,000 jobs are at risk.

Source: Zawya

 

#Related keywords

All rights reserved to Arab Finance 2015 ©

Back to top