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VIRUS OUTBREAK

Emirates Group sees slowdown due to Covid-19

Dubai

DUBAI'S Emirates Group has seen a "measurable slowdown" in business due to the coronavirus outbreak and has asked staff to take paid and unpaid leave, according to an internal e-mail seen by Reuters.

Emirates Group, a state-owned holding company that counts Emirates airline among its assets, had more than 100,000 employees, including more than 21,000 cabin crew and 4,000 pilots, at end-March 2019, the end of its last financial year.

"A particular challenge for us right now is dealing with the impact of the Covid-19," the e-mail to staff said. "We've seen a measurable slowdown in business across our brands, and a need for flexibility in the way we work."

The e-mail asked staff who have "accrued a significant balance of annual leave" to consider taking paid leave. It also said the company was offering unpaid leave to employees in non-operational roles and may offer it to operational staff.

An Emirates spokeswoman confirmed the e-mail had been sent to employees but declined to comment further. Emirates Group's holdings also include dnata, which operates airport services and travel agencies around the world.

Emirates has cancelled all flights to mainland China, except to capital Beijing, and to Iran at the direction of the United Arab Emirates' aviation regulator, because of the spread of the virus in those two countries. REUTERS