Emirates Australia has cut 40% of its local workforce – making up to 50 staff redundant at the end of July, Travel Trends can exclusively reveal.
The redundancies – part of a global cull by the carrier – have impacted employees in support, finance, human resources, airports and commercial.
The airline is operating at 17% capacity in the Australian market with 12 flights a week between Australia and Dubai – four each from Sydney and Melbourne, two each from Perth and Brisbane.
All these flights use Boeing 777s. Pre-COVID Emirates Australia operated 70 flights a week, 42 of which were the much larger A380s.
Due to government quarantine restrictions – and limited approved hotel capacity – Emirates and other airlines still serving Australia are only able to carry 30 to 40 passengers on each flight.
To put this into perspective, Emirates’ Boeing 777s can carry 350 passengers – so its aircraft are often forced to fly at load factors of less than 10%.
Compounding the issue is that consumer demand for Emirates services into Australia is running ahead of supply, meaning many people who want to come home to Australia can’t.
At present Emirates Australia has strong inbound bookings through August, September and October.
But as things stand with approved quarantine hotels consistently at capacity, most of these bookings will have to be cancelled by Emirates, potentially leaving thousands of Australian stranded overseas.
Over time, this backlog in demand will only increase.
At this point freight is the only real revenue generator for Emirates and other airlines flying to Australia.
By the end of August, the total Emirates network will increase to 70 cities, about half the number before COVID.
The BBC reported on July 10 that the President of Emirates, Sir Tim Clark, said 15% of its staff, which before COVID was around 60,000, would be retrenched.
In late June Qantas announced it would be “reducing the Group’s pre-crisis workforce by at least 6,000 roles across all parts of the business” while “continuing the stand down for 15,000 employees, particularly those associated with international operations, until flying returns.”