NEWS: Emirates stops ALL flights worldwide and British Airways drops Helsinki route completely

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER photographed on August 17, 2015 from Wolfe Air Aviation's Lear 25B.

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Emirates stops ALL flights worldwide

In a surprise move, Emirates has just now announced the total shutdown of all passenger flights on Emirates from 25 March.

The airline has aimed to maintain passenger flights for as long as feasible to help travellers return home amidst an increasing number of travel bans, restrictions, and country lockdowns across the world. It will continue to maintain international air cargo links with its fleet of 777 freighters for the transport of essential goods including medical supplies across the world.

Although the official press release does not say so, it is believed to be the result of the latest Dubai directives regarding testing and quarantine. On returning to Dubai crew are being tested and then self-isolating until the results. This is obviously not sustainable when trying to run an international airline. 

It has also been causing queues in the airports with crew and passengers crammed together waiting for tests. You can see the scenes from this post on social media:

 

 

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group said: “The world has literally gone into quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is an unprecedented crisis situation in terms of breadth and scale: geographically, as well as from a health, social, and economic standpoint. Until January 2020, the Emirates Group was doing well against our current financial year targets. But COVID-19 has brought all that to a sudden and painful halt over the past 6 weeks.

“As a global network airline, we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns. By Wednesday 25 March, although we will still operate cargo flights which remain busy, Emirates will have temporarily suspended all its passenger operations. We continue to watch the situation closely, and as soon as things allow, we will reinstate our services.

“Emirates Group has a strong balance sheet, and substantial cash liquidity, and we can, and will, with appropriate and timely action, survive through a prolonged period of reduced flight schedules, so that we are adequately prepared for the return to normality.”

 

 

Cost reduction measures

The Emirates Group has undertaken a series of measures to contain costs, as they believe the outlook for travel demand remains weak across markets in the short to medium term. This includes:

  • Postponing or cancelling discretionary expenditure
  • A freeze on all non-essential recruitment and consultancy work
  • Working with suppliers to find cost savings and efficiency
  • Encouraging employees to take paid or unpaid leave in light of reduced flying capacity
  • A temporary reduction of basic salary for the majority of Emirates Group employees for three months, ranging from 25% to 50%. Employees will continue to be paid their other allowances during this time. Junior level employees will be exempt from basic salary reduction
  • Presidents of Emirates and dnata – Sir Tim Clark and Gary Chapman – will take a 100% basic salary cut for three months

On the decision to reduce basic salary, Sheikh Ahmed said: “Rather than ask employees to leave the business, we chose to implement a temporary basic salary cut as we want to protect our workforce and keep our talented and skilled people, as much as possible. We want to avoid cutting jobs. When demand picks up again, we also want to be able to quickly ramp up and resume services for our customers.

“The Emirates Group has strong liquidity, with a healthy cash position but it is prudent that it take steps to reduce costs at this time. Emirates remains committed to serving its markets and looks forward to resuming a normal flight schedule as soon as that is permitted by the relevant authorities.”

 

BA drops Helsinki completely

Helsinki airport

In a second shock move today, British Airways has cancelled the London-Helsinki route for the foreseeable future, not just on a temporary basis like other routes. This is surprising as almost every Helsinki flight I have been on has been full, particularly in Club Europe. Whilst this has led to an overly full Club cabin at times (read the review here), you would have expected them to be making decent revenue on the route given Finnair process which are often three times as much with an average cost of £650.

finnair northern lights theme business class cabin

A350 business class with Northern lights mood lighting. Photo supplied by Finnair

If you are booked on one of the Helsinki flights you will probably be moved onto one of the Finnair flights instead. Finnair offer 5 flights a day from London with one rotation each of the long haul A330 and A350 aircraft. 

7 Comments on "NEWS: Emirates stops ALL flights worldwide and British Airways drops Helsinki route completely"

  1. Finnair are not using the A350 and A330 during this crisis starting from April. They are switching to A321. So no flat bed business seats between London and Helsinki.

    The immigration restrictions at Helsinki airport even for transit passengers are very strict, making most travel via Helsinki impossible anyway.

    • Thanks Graham. The A350/A330 are still showing in the summer onwards but obviously no one knows what will happen. I was assuming no one is planning to fly at the moment anyway but a lot of people have cancellations for as far as November. Hopefully we are back flying by then!

  2. Hi Michelle

    Firstly thanks for all the really helpful posts of late. Very very welcome.

    Am scheduled to fly from Colombo with Qatar on the 28th and your earlier post (and their website) suggests they are still running this – albeit now 2 a day and no Gatwick. Do you feel they will continue to operate per schedule over next week or so?

    Thanks

    Richard

    • Qatar have announced two rounds of flight cuts recently. The last one for Colombo showed
      Doha – Colombo
      11MAR20 – 19MAR20 Reduce from 4 to 3 daily
      20MAR20 – 28MAR20 Reduce from 4 to 2 daily
      29MAR20 – 30APR20 Reduce from 5 to 2 daily
      01MAY20 – 30JUN20 Reduce from 5 to 3 daily
      eff 01JUL20 5th daily service commences on this date, instead of 29MAR20

      A lot will depend on whether there are any more government restrictions suddenly introduced. At the moment it looks promising. My advice is to keep a very close eye on what is happening via Reuters for example as if they do announce anything you will need to look at leaving as quickly as possible if you need to get back.

  3. Please make it clear Emirates stops flights from 25th March. You article suggests with immediate affect until much further reading from CEO.

  4. Unfortunately Emirates is not being fully transparent when it comes to the alternatives available to passengers on its website https://www.emirates.com/english/help/travel-updates/#3515. A relative of mine has a EWR-ATH round trip economy ticket. As the flight has now been ‘suspended’, if the passenger wants to get a refund the airline will apply a ‘cancellation’ penalty. This is just disgusting!

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