One of the world's biggest long-haul airlines announced Sunday that it will fly passengers to only 13 destinations instead of its usual 145. Emirates Airline had said earlier in the day that it would ground all passenger flights by Wednesday, the AP reports, but reversed itself after governments and customers asked that it help repatriate passengers. The airline plans to cut employees' pay by as much as half for the next three months but not eliminate any jobs, per Axios. The CEO of the Emirates Group, which is owned by the government of Dubai, said the airline has been doing well financially, has "substantial cash liquidity," and should be able to weather a lengthy slowdown caused by the global pandemic.
Emirates said it will still fly passengers to the US, UK, Japan, Australia and Canada. The airline will continue to move cargo, including medical supplies. The cargo business remains strong, per CNBC. Spending reductions are planned in the interim, including 100% cuts in basic salary for the top two executives. The CEO expressed hope that keeping employees will allow Emirates to resume flying passengers quickly when demand returns. "We cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns," he said. (US airlines have asked for $50 billion in government aid to help them weather the pandemic.)