UAE airlines ask staff to extend unpaid leave

UAE airlines Emirates and Etihad ask staff to extend unpaid leave due to coronavirus downtown
2 min read
25 August, 2020
The airline industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus crisis.
Etihad and Emirates are among the hard-hit airlines [Getty]
Two leading UAE airlines have asked staff to extend their period of unpaid leave as the travel industry continues to suffer from the coronavirus crisis.

Internal memos from inside Dubai-based Emirates, seen by Reuters, reveal that cabin crew were told they can take unpaid leave from 1 September to 30 November due to low demand for flights after the Covid-19 epidemic hit earlier this year.

An internal Etihad memo, also viewed by the news agency, stated that staff were not needed at present and could take between 10 days and six months unpaid leave from 16 September.

Both airlines have laid off thousands of staff since March when the flights were grounded and borders closed worldwide in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Cabin crew and pilots still employed by Emirates and Etihad had also been encouraged to take unpaid leave.

Read also: Emirates airline 'planning to lay off 30,000 staff' after grim financial forecast

Nearly six months later and demand for flights has failed to pick up, leading the two airliners to ask staff to extend their period away from work.

Both have seen massive downtowns, particularly after the UAE closed its borders to travellers due to Covid-19.

Etihad reported $758 million core operating losses for the first half of 2020.

Emirates is expected to make huge losses and asked crew and pilots to take unpaid leave in July and is continuing with mass redundancies.

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