Coronavirus: Emirates asks employees to take one month’s unpaid leave

Dubai-based airline Emirates has asked their employees to take up to one month’s unpaid leave, due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus, which has led to hundreds of flight cancellations around the world.

Emirates has already cancelled flights to Iran, Bahrain and most of China because of the coronavirus and many countries have placed strict restrictions on entry of foreigners.

Due to the cancellations and cutting of frequencies, Emirates has more resources than it needs, Chief Operating Officer Adel al-Redha said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Considering the availability of additional resources and the fact that many employees want to utilise their leave, we have provided our employees the option to avail leave or apply for voluntary unpaid leave for up to one month at a time,” he said.

Emirates Group, the state-owned holding company which owns the airline, has asked their staff to take either paid or unpaid leave due to a “measurable slowdown” in their business.

The company has more than 100,000 employees, from which 21,000 are cabin crew and 4,000 pilots, according to numbers from the end of its last financial year.

So far, coronavirus (known as COVID-19) has killed more than 3,100 people and almost 100,000 are known to be infected worldwide.

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