Emirates Laying Off Flight Attendants & Pilots

Filed Under: Emirates

A few weeks ago I wrote about the rumors that Emirates Airline would start laying off employees, and was considering grounding much of the A380 fleet permanently. While we don’t know more yet about the future of the A380 fleet, Emirates is informing a significant number of flight attendants and pilots today that they’re being terminated.

Emirates begins mass layoffs

A couple of weeks ago Emirates laid off newly hired flight attendants and pilots, who had either recently completed training, or were still being trained. Today the airline has taken job cuts to the next level, including laying off many employees who had been at the company for a long time.

Based on my sources, late last night emails were sent to many flight attendants and pilots, informing them that they had to attend mandatory meetings today at the Emirates training college.

It seems that the airline has essentially engaged in group layoffs. As people arrived at the training college their names were checked off a list and they were assigned a room. Once the room filled up there was a quick meeting informing everyone that they were being terminated:

  • There was no mention of the possibility of being rehired in the future
  • The managers responsible for the layoffs said they had no detailed insights into the reason, and that they were just the messengers
  • It’s my understanding that layoffs were largely targeted at those who had previously received warnings, those with high sickness, and those who failed training courses in the past

Upon conclusion of these meetings, employees received letters outlining what the process of being terminated will look like:

  • There is a 30 day notice period for flight attendants, and 90 day notice period for pilots
  • There is no right of appeal against the redundancy decision
  • Since the company issues UAE work visas, there’s a 29 day “grace period” beyond the 90 day notice period, and by that time people have to leave the country
  • For situations where employees can’t leave the country due to border closures, those visas can be extended
  • Those who must remain in the country will continue to receive housing, and will receive 25% of their base salary
  • Upon separation with the company, employees will receive any outstanding renumeration, the value of unused annual leave, and an end of service benefit

Emirates is moving forward with more pilot & cabin crew layoffs

Other Emirates employees get 50% pay cuts

The news this week for Emirates employees goes beyond those being terminated. Many employees at the company who still have jobs are getting a 50% pay cut of their basic salary between July 1 and September 30, 2020.

For the past couple of months the company has reduced pay for many frontline employees by 25%, but now that amount is increasing.

For flight attendants the real pay cut is more than 50%:

  • The basic salary is being cut by 50%, but then flight attendants also ordinarily get paid for the hours that they fly
  • With most flight attendants flying very little (if at all), they’re also missing out on their flight pay
  • That means for many flight attendants the pay cut is more along the lines of 60%+

Emirates BarEmirates is also reducing pay for many employees by 50%

Bottom line

My thoughts are with all of those at Emirates today who are losing their jobs. It’s especially tough when you get laid off after moving somewhere for a job, without an option to stay. Many people have built lives in Dubai, are now forced to leave them behind.

Ultimately we don’t know how many people Emirates has laid off, and we may not know for a while. Furthermore, odds are that we’ll see more layoffs in the coming weeks, since it would appear that they’re doing layoffs in stages.

First they laid off those still in training, then they laid off those who had some performance issues, and who knows what group is next…

  1. While I do feel bad for the fired flight attendants no one built a life in Dubai working for Emirates. Most flight attendants stay for short periods of time.

  2. Here the original article:


    Honestly not surprised at all about these news, as all airlines are making staff redundant, given the extreme uncertain economic environment and constantly changing international border regulations. I have unfortunately once gone through a similar experience and it feels just so awful. My heart goes out to all of them. As bad as it is, good to hear that they do get their remuneration etc and service benefits when their contracts expire. Compare that to what is happening currently at British Airways!

    Also at Qatar (according to PPRune) flight deck crew this week were informed about the new (permanent) 25% basic salary reduction plus 25% flight pay reduction.
    Apparently letters are also to go out this week to Captains, First officers and Second Officers who will leave the company.

  3. I feel really bad for them since I’ve always gotten topnotch service whenever I flew in EK (in all classes economy/business/first.) I hope all of them will be ok in the long run. I was laid off back in fall 2008 and experienced something similar (bunch of us called to the main conference room first thing in the morning to be told our positions have been eliminated and then HR spoke to us one-on-one about our severance packages.)
    Have the folks at EK management gotten 50% pay cuts too?

  4. The important question is:

    How will the Instagram stars wannabee, contantly showing off on Instagram about their luxury Flight attendant lifestyle with Emirates, will keep on updating their newsfeed?

    While I feel bad for the older, kinder professional cabin crew, there are plenty of arrogant cabin crew at Emirates who perfectly fit this description.

  5. I am really sorry to hear this news. Unlike what will happen in North America, Emirates and other Middle Eastern carriers do not lay off flight attendants based on seniority. Instead they pick flight attendants they think are too “geriatric” or too ugly to lay off. Many people who work as a flight attendant at a Middle Eastern carrier already know going in that they are not in for a long, respectable career because of their age discrimination, but this layoff is like a hammer going down.

  6. Wow, shocking indeed! This virus really messed up our lives in an unforeseen way. My symphaties to all those who are suffering right now. I sincerly hope that we overcome this virus as soon as possible so people can start living normal again and no more terrible news like this.

  7. Interesting comparing this article to your article about BA doing the same a few days ago – you were much a more harsh in your BA article? Biased reporting maybe??

  8. Such is life working as a guest worker in a small Middle Eastern country in which almost all of the workers across all sectors are foreigners. Emirates will just hire a bunch of new, beautiful ladies from Third-World countries or beautiful ladies from poor backgrounds in England to work for them when this is all over and they’re back to normal.

  9. @ Rob — Um, no? I think your reading comprehension is a bit off. Emirates is asking employees to take a temporary pay cut, while British Airways is asking employees to take a permanent pay cut. As I even specifically wrote in the story about British Airways:
    “To me there’s a fine line between asking someone to make a temporary sacrifice and permanently destroying their livelihood in this way. You know British Airways won’t do anything to improve contracts when industry conditions improve, so this just makes me sad.”

  10. While the terminations were handled in what can at best described as cold and dispassionate, at least Sharia punishment wasn’t applied. Hopefully those that lost employment will find something better.

  11. I have mixed feelings about this. While it is sad for anyone to lose his/her job, if EK is only firing employees with bad records, that’s not necessarily bad. I have met some of the kindest and most professional cabin crews at EK, but at the same time, some of the absolute worst… including obnoxious deadheading crew CMB DXB who were seated in First and kept making inappropriate jokes and chewing food with their mouths wide open. I have also heard from a friend who worked at EK that some cabin crew would frequently lie about being sick because they just didn’t want to work in Economy.

  12. @Dan

    “While I do feel bad for the fired flight attendants no one built a life in Dubai working for Emirates. Most flight attendants stay for short periods of time.”

    Your comment just smacks of ignorance. There is a huge cabin crew community in Dubai that have been at the airline for 10-20+ years, have properties, met partners, raised their families and more. Yes, some come and go, some shorter than others, but a large number DO build a life in Dubai working for Emirates!

  13. Cabin crew were laid off today that did not have performance issues but did have exemplary & consistent customer service feedback. They were long serving and approaching anniversaries that would take their severance pay into a higher bracket. Contrary to previous comments many HAVE built lives, homes & relationships in Dubai and had the majority of a contract to fulfil. Dan… do you speak from a position of knowledge when you say most only stay for a short period of time?? Sam… the people I know who are affected by today’s news are neither geriatric or ugly

  14. @Ben , great post as always crisp and intelligent reporting. Sad to see EK reach this level, they have been an excellent airline to work with. Good thing is they will still be around as smaller version.

  15. As much as such layoffs were expected, no one is talking about the fact, that unlike the initial salary reduction which was applicable to all employees, the updated 50% reduction didn’t apply to top management. So basically everyone else’s salary was reduced even more, and many jobs were lost, so that higher management doesn’t face any financial inconveniences. Disgusting culture.

  16. @Joana no now everyone at EK Grade 4 and above is subject to 50% salary reduction till Sept 30. Prior it was 50% for all management and mid level and cabin crew was 25%. The president etc will not take salary

    Here are the numbers so far that has been culled.

    Last week 280 trainee pilots (777 & 380)
    400 trainee cabin crew
    Tuesday June 9: 600 pilots (777 & 380) but were ones with “disciplinary” or “sick”
    700 cabin crew but MORE cabins crew up to a total of 7000 (meaning 30% as originally rumoured)
    More pilots apparently from next week – possible another 600!
    Some engineers were laid off. Some IT couple weeks ago. And other departments will also be effected – this announcements coming over this week and next

    Good luck to everyone at EK. Flydubai also had some redundancies made to pilots and cabin crew on Tuesday but numbers are not known

  17. @Joana
    It is definitely a very critical & extremely tough time for airlines and it is sad to see so many refundancies across all global major airlines. A friend of mine, a pilot, lost his job a month ago at an European airline and though he expected it, it still was a shock. At his employer, senior management never took a paycut themselves.

    I read at Bloomberg 2 days ago that Emirates had extended 50 per cent salary cuts until September and they wod be applied to all employees at grades 4 and above.

    Just curious, would that not also include all management levels?


  18. @Stanley – couldnt agree more. While I’d never wish anyone to lose their job, but I know exactly the sort of EK crew you’re referring to.
    Of course there are fantastic crew as well.

    Sympathies with all staff who have lost jobs/may be losing a job in the near future.

  19. The way Emirates have treated their staff during this terrible time is utterly disgraceful. They belong in a courtroom for the way they have tossed out their staff & their families like garbage. They have already had suicides, breakdowns and complete family implosions. Most will never recover. The company provided no reasons, no support & shown zero loyalty. I WILL NEVER FLY ON AN EMIRATES AIRCRAFT AGAIN ! NOBODY SHOULD. There is a right and wrong way to handle a downturn like this and Emirates Airline have done everything the wrong way. You filthy greedy selfish animals, I hope you go broke !

  20. I know personally many people who lost their jobs and they did not have any performance issues. I also heard that not one Emiratee employee lost their job. Names were basically “thrown in a hat” and picked out with no regard to seniority and I guess the Emiratee names were not in the hat.

  21. Im one of the captains who got layed off. I can tell I have never failed a sim or any check with Emirates or any other airline I worked before. Also my sickness has been very low. Never had any warning letter or any meeting for being a “bad” boy. This article is suggesting the weaker workers got layed off first. This is totally not true. It has been a lottery and unfortunately I won

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