Emirates is asking pilots and cabin crew to take unpaid leave and rival Qatar Airways laid off about 200 staff in Doha this week as the coronavirus outbreak hammers demand for travel.
Dubai’s Emirates, one of the world’s biggest international airlines, is offering pilots and cabin crew unpaid leave, according to internal staff emails.
“You are strongly encouraged to make use of this opportunity to volunteer for additional paid and unpaid leave,” an email to pilots said.
There is limited opportunity for unpaid leave for cabin crew who are being encouraged to take paid leave, another email said.
The airline did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Emirates has told staff the coronavirus epidemic could be the biggest challenge it has faced in many years, frozen recruitment and continues to cut flights as the situation worsens globally.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, another Gulf carrier, announced more flight cancellations on Wednesday, including to Egypt and India.