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Thu 12 Mar 2020 03:04 PM

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Emirates expects further cuts to flights as virus bites

Airline chief says to cut unnecessary spending, while encouraging staff to take annual leave or unpaid leave

Emirates expects further cuts to flights as virus bites

Emirates halted most flights to China, where the virus broke out, and suspended operations to Iran after it became one of the biggest centers for the outbreak.

Emirates, the world’s largest long-haul carrier, expects further flight cuts after the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic and more countries restricted travel.

While the Dubai-based airline has significantly reduced passenger flights this month, “more cuts will likely follow as we review the latest situation,” chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in an email sent to employees and viewed by Bloomberg.

The airline plans to cut unnecessary spending, while encouraging staff to take annual leave or unpaid leave, Sheikh Ahmed said.

“In some cases, the best way you can contribute is to stand down and stand by to return with vigour,” he said in the message.

Emirates halted most flights to China, where the virus broke out, and suspended operations to Iran after it became one of the biggest centers for the outbreak.

The carrier has also stopped flights to Saudi Arabia, its biggest market in the Middle East.

“On the bright side, our cargo business is doing well, and we see strong demand in some markets and industry sectors,” Sheikh Ahmed said.

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