High-flying Emirates, Dubai Now shared

The DUBAI-Emirates airline prompted Dubai’s rise from the desert backwaters to the Middle East metropolis, making the city one of the world’s largest intercontinental centers and generating a year-long economic boom.

But now, the coronovirus epidemic and the economic devastation it has caused have forced the first major drop for the airline, with Middle East collisions and oil-market shocks. As a result, the state-owned carrier is wreaking havoc through Dubai’s economy.

The airline’s parent company, one of Dubai’s largest employers, has snatched tens of jobs from its 1,00,000-strong workforce as the epidemic halted global air travel, a fall from grace for an airline that has grown in the US. And has long outpaced competitors in Europe. For landing rights and passengers.

Emirates aircraft at Dubai International Airport.


Karim Sahab / Agence France-Press / Getty Images

This led to an exodus of Dubai-based expatriates, connected to airlines, reducing spending in restaurants, bars and private schools.

“It is extremely difficult for hospitality sectors, restaurants, hoteliers, but they are not alone,” Emirates Airlines president Tim Clarke said in an interview. “The number of people coming to Dubai has come down significantly. Everything has got to go into a deep freeze. ”

Dubai’s Rock Bottom Cafe, near an apartment building where hundreds of Emirates employees live, once worked with partners until the early hours. Now it only serves about 50 people a weekend, said Mitendra Sharma, general manager of the Ramei Group, which owns the cafe as well as four hotels in Dubai. He said the group has reduced the workforce from 1,000 to 300 as its hotels are at 10-15% occupancy compared to around 95% at this time last year.

“Emirates was the driving force for the tourists, and it is cutting jobs and reducing landmarks,” said Mr. Sharma. “All industries are affected as a result.”

The Dubai government established Emirates in 1985 with $ 10 million and two leased aircraft from Pakistan International Airlines. The current ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, helped establish the carrier and ordered that it “be nice, look good and earn money”.

The airline soon became one of the world’s largest, using a fleet of wide body jets to ferry passengers through its Dubai hub. Many travelers stopped in the city, building hotels and shopping malls. This contributed to a bubble and dramatic collapse in the real estate market during the 2009 financial crisis.

Beach Market in Dubai. The city is experiencing an exodus of Emirates airline-bound migrants.


Kamran Zebreli / Associated Press

By building a global network serving developing markets, Emirates endured the economic pain in Dubai. It also added housing to the growing Cityscape, staying home to its employees, and expanding into hotel operations. In 2014, Dubai International overtook London’s Heathrow as the world’s busiest airport for international travelers, largely operated by Emirates. The city became a playground for Europeans in search of winter sun and the Saudis were deprived of entertainment options in their more conservative state.

The number of pilots, cabin crew and other employees also increased. “Ladies Night” became popular with Emirates’ multi-female cabin crew at the bar on Tuesday and manifold brunches were attended by aviation professionals at the city’s hotels and restaurants on Friday.

These same locations are not only related to Emirate’s job cuts, but also restrictions related to coronovirus – a double whammy that has affected lives from some establishments.

Irish Village General Manager David Katnach, a popular bar located near Emirates Training Facilities at Dubai International Airport, said it would have to contend with both fewer customers and rules that patrons keep 6 feet apart. “We won’t break until the vaccine arrives,” he says.

Tourist at Al Naseem Hotel in Dubai. The city reopened to tourists in July.


Karim Sahab / Agence France-Press / Getty Images

While Dubai reopened to tourists on July 7 after a three-month closure, travel from its top feeder markets – India, UK, Saudi Arabia, China and Russia – remained depressed due to high levels of infection or travel restrictions Has happened. The increase in cases globally means the Emirates is now carrying 12% of its passengers, which it did this time last year, according to Mr Clarke.

Dubai’s travel and tourism sector has contracted every month since January, according to an index compiled by the IHS Market, with activity in the Emirates declining. Real estate firm Colliers International predicts that Dubai hotels will have a turnover of only 45% to 50% during 2020. S&P Global Ratings said Saturday expected Dubai’s economy to grow by around 11% in 2020, citing the city’s state concentration in travel and tourism. .

The UAE reported 1,231 new coronovirus cases on Saturday, a record that totaled 97,760 cases and 426 deaths.

To entice people to travel, Emirates is committed to covering travelers’ medical expenses when diagnosed with Kovid-19.

“It has been really helpful,” said Kabir Moolchandani, who runs the luxury five-star five hotel on the palm-sized island of Dubai. It saw occupation among tourists at the onset of the epidemic, but is now welcoming more foreign travelers.

Emirates travelers arriving in the United Arab Emirates must present a negative Kovid-19 test four days prior to departure. Dubai does not break statistics on cases, but its population makes up one-third of the nearly 10 million people in the United Arab Emirates, which overtook China on 21 September in total confirmed infections.

A shop window at Dera Souk in Dubai.


Karim Sahab / Agence France-Press / Getty Images

Dubai officials have long wanted the airline to operate without injecting more cash from the state and remain profitable on its own. Emirates said he would need a bailout in March. Officials quickly shifted to equity with $ 2 billion to shore up the airline, the first time the government had provided fresh capital since its inception.

The Dubai government did not answer questions about the bailout or widespread impact of the downsizing of the emirate. The airline declined to comment on the cost savings from the job cuts.

Jimination, a fitness center operator popular with cabin crew, lost members after Emirates’ job cuts and considered a Nixing plan to plan to open a new branch near the staff apartment but decided to move on, hoping Is that the airline will return to the global travel market once. According to CEO Lorraine Holland.

According to Principal Anthony Cashin, the private school is the Dubai branch of Kent College – a UK institution that Mr Clarke attended as a child. He said that the pilots still appointed had their education allowances trimmed, further straining the school’s finances.

“It’s a difficult time,” Mr. Cashin said. “We are dealing with families from case to case.”

Following an unprecedented drop in air travel due to coronaviruses, passenger airlines are being forced to make long-term, make-or-break decisions on times of great uncertainty and minimal cash flow. So how do they plan to survive? The WSJ detects. Overall: George Downs / The Wall Street Journal

Write Rory Jones at [email protected]

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