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Emirates to swing the axe in UK as London City culls staff

Oliver Gill
·2-min read
Emirates
Emirates

Airlines and airports delivered a double dose of bad news as Emirates prepared to swing the axe on its UK workforce and London City airport announced plans to cull up to a third of its staff. 

Emirates warned its almost 600 of its employees based in Britain of the need to "consider reducing the size of the UK workforce".

Quarantines, border controls and other travel restrictions has left passenger demand for air travel "extremely subdued", according to an internal email seen by The Telegraph.

"We have to reduce the scale of the operation in order to protect our cash flow and safeguard our business, to ensure that we have a viable future," the staff correspondence read.

A spokesman for Emirates declined to comment on how many jobs were at risk.

The warning came as London City airport announced plans to axe up to a third of its workforce.

Some 239 jobs, equivalent to 35pc of staff, are at risk of losing their jobs after the east London airport began a consultation as part of a major restructuring.

Chief executive Robert Sinclair said: “We have held off looking at job losses for as long as possible, but sadly we are not immune from the devastating impact of this virus.”

The Government’s aviation policy has angered many in the industry by undermining consumer confidence through a “on-off” approach to quarantining from certain popular destinations.

Heathrow is cutting up to 1,200 jobs and Gatwick about 600 roles

Ministers have resisted repeated calls for a sophisticated testing regime to negate or mitigate restrictions.  

The crisis hit London City particularly hard. While some airports continued skeleton operations, all commercial flights were grounded from March 25 for almost three months, prompting London City to put plans for a £500m upgrade on hold.

In July Emirates, led by British executive Sir Tim Clark, announced that 9,000 of its 60,000 global workforce were under threat. 

At the time, Sir Tim insisted that Emirates was navigating the crisis better than its peers.

A spokesman for Emirates said: "Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on our business. While we have restarted operations wherever it is safe and commercially viable, our operations footprint today is significantly smaller than before and it will take time for us to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Regretfully this means that we’ve had to resize our workforce in line with our reduced operational requirements, resulting in redundancies across all markets, including in the UK.

“Our people have always been a significant factor to our success so this is not an action that we take lightly. We continue to take every possible action to keep our colleagues and customers safe, reduce costs, restore revenue streams, and preserve jobs.”