UAE airline asks employees to take voluntary leave amidst coronavirus scare

Emirates airline has asked staff to take voluntary paid and unpaid leave as the effects of the coronavirus across the world ramps up.

The Dubai-based carrier halted most flights to China and suspended operations to Iran, the epicenters of the coronavirus.

Following Saudi Arabia’s decision to temporarily suspend issuing tourist visas to people in countries badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak, Emirates stopped flying tourists from more than 20 countries to the kingdom, the company’s biggest market in the Middle East.

An email to staff described a “measureable slow-down in business across our brands” and called for “flexibility in the way we work”.

A spokesperson for Emirates said: “We can confirm the email was sent to our employees around unpaid leave due to the difficult business conditions.”

German airline Lufthansa recently announced that it expects to reduce its flights by up to 25 percent in the coming weeks due to the increasing spread of the new coronavirus. 

Due to the “accelerated spread of the coronavirus” the company said it would have to cut the numbers of its short- and medium-haul flights by up to a quarter and ground 23 of its long-haul planes.
The International Civil Aviation Organization has said that the virus outbreak could mean a $4-5 billion drop in worldwide airline revenue.

Worldwide the virus has hit over 83,000 people in 56 countries and territories.