Emirates Airline announces it will cancel all commercial flights

UAE to suspend all flights within the next 48 hours

Emirates, one of the world's biggest global airlines, is suspending all flights to France, Germany, Nigeria, New York and New Jersey due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to internal emails seen by Reuters.

"Having received requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travellers, Emirates will continue to operate passenger and cargo flights to the following countries until further notice, as long as borders remain open, and there is demand: the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, USA, and Canada".

The long-haul carrier, which operates more than 1,800 flights out of its main hub in Dubai every week, flies to more than 140 destinations in over 80 countries. And all this could still change, given that virtually every airline now likes to say that this situation is "dynamic". Before this decision, Emirates operated flights to 161 cities in 85 countries.

Emirates is the among the world's top 5 largest airline in terms of passenger flown.

"There is no other choice, really", one said on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to media.

Over the past weeks, the airline has also implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures on all of its aircraft departing Dubai as a precaution, and worked closely with airports to implement screening measures as required by the local authorities.

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It is a pivotal move that reflects the dramatic slowdown in traffic through the airline's hub in Dubai, the world's busiest worldwide airport, due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus. It does not operate domestic flights and most of its passengers transit through Dubai.

A temporary reduction of basic salary for the majority of employees has been put in place for three months, ranging from 25% to 50%.

"I feel uncertain for the future but at least we still have our jobs and are still getting paid", an employee said.

The carrier had initially announced that all passenger flights would be stopped.

Emirates President Tim Clark, who is due to step down in June, and Gary Chapman, president of the holding group's airport and travel services company, will forgo their basic salaries for three months.

"We want to avoid cutting jobs".

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