Dubai’s Emirates says it will begin removing staff as the coronavirus deepens the aviation industry.
The government-owned airline said Sunday that a review of its business operations clarified that repayments were required.
“Unfortunately, we have to say goodbye to a few amazing people working with us,” a statement said. “If we are forced to make difficult decisions, we will treat people with fairness and respect.”
The trial staff received letters on Sunday informing them that their contracts would be terminated in June.
Emirates, employing about 60,000 people, did not recognize the total number of redundancies. The ground-handling unit of the group, Dnata, began employing staff.
The airline continued a limited schedule of passenger flights after most operations were suspended in late March.
The fortunes of the Emirates are important for Dubai, the commercial and tourism hub of the oil-rich region, whose external economy is struggling under the weight of domestic lockdowns and the global collapse of travel.
Emirates president Tim Clark said in May that the carrier is expected to return to the air by the summer of 2020, including the A380 superjumbo jets, based on its forecast that air travel will last two years to recover.
Emirates, along with rivals Etihad region of Abu Dhabi and Qatar Airways, disrupted the aviation industry, connecting destinations east and west through three Gulf states.
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But the effect of coronavirus on travel has hit so-called superconnectors, among others. Qatar Airways has plans to release 20 percent of its employees.
By the first quarter of 2020, the Dubai carrier had raised an additional $ 1.1bn through loans and other facilities, while the government had promised to return the airline to financial support.
Emirates said it expected the coronavirus to have a “significant impact” on its future performance when it announced its latest financial results in May.
The group said it was performing well until mid-February when the virus triggered a “sudden and massive fall in demand”.