CORONAVIRUS COVID-19: big impact on airlines

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The Israeli airline El Al could lay off up to 1,000 employees as a result of the epidemic of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), while United Airlines or Emirates Airlines offer holidays to their pilots and PNC.

The impact on employment is being felt more and more among airlines, while the toll of the epidemic of the new coronavirus has exceeded 3000 deaths worldwide. Based at Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion airport, the Israeli national company has, among other things, suspended flights to Italy for at least two weeks, postponed its return to Beijing until the end of April and postponed the launch of the route until next month. to Tokyo. An economic impact estimated at between 45 and 63 million euros in the first quarter, which pushed the management of El Al to announce on March 1, 2020, that it planned to lay off up to 1000 of its 6000 employees. This is already the case for 50 pilots in training and 14 others who were to join the company, as well as for an unspecified number of flight attendants and stewards also in training (the next two sessions for cabin crew have been canceled).

According to a statement from the main Israeli trade union center, Histadrut, El Al « risks collapse » like other airlines. She calls on the government to intervene and provide « interim and urgent financial assistance » so that El Al can « survive » the health and financial crisis.

The example of Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong, which had asked its employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave from the beginning of February, is now followed by other airlines: United Airlines in the United States offers its 13,100 pilots take a month’s vacation in April – at reduced wages (50 « block hours » instead of the usual 80). The offer concerns long-haul pilots, the American company suffering a lot on its Asian network from the consequences of the epidemic: in a memo published on Friday, it announced that it would extend until April 30 the suspension of its flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and a reduction in capacity to Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, and Singapore. Trans-Pacific demand has dropped by 75%, and negotiations with unions are underway to prepare for possible further dark cuts to the network.





In Dubai, Emirates Airlines “encouraged” its employees to take “paid or unpaid” leave, due to falling demand: “We have seen a measurable slowdown in business between our brands, and the need for flexibility in our way of working, ”confirmed the Emirati company, which has suspended all flights to Iran and most of those to China, and can no longer transport nationals from twenty countries to Saudi Arabia.

Read also: Coronavirus: British Airways suspends all flights to China

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific confirmed in the South China Morning Post that 120 of its planes were grounded, or half of its fleet. Three-quarters of its employees will have to take leave without pay, it said last week, which would roughly correspond to the decrease in the number of flights scheduled for March according to calculations of the daily.

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