Emirates has revealed it is offering cabin crew up to six months of unpaid leave from May as it cuts back on services.
The Dubai-based airline said that the option, which comes into effect on May 1, was on a “purely voluntary basis”. It added a drop in the number of cabin crew leaving the airline through natural attrition had led to the voluntary leave offer.
Emirates hopes that about 700 of its 12,000-strong cabin crew will take up the offer of leave.
The cuts in staffing follow shortly after the carrier announced it was pulling two A380 super-jumbos from the Dubai to New York route due to poor demand, a move which prompted concerns over the number of A380s on order.
An Emirates spokesman said: “Combined with a sharp drop in cabin crew attrition, we now find ourselves in a position to be more flexible as an employer.”
The airline also said there were limited unpaid leave slots available, depending on seniority and the aircraft type the crew works on.
“Cabin crew may opt for unpaid leave from a period of one month, up to a maximum of six months,” the spokesperson said.
“While on leave, they will still be employees of the airline, and continue to be eligible for various benefits including paid accommodation and travel concessions.
“Emirates will continue to review our operational requirements closely, and staff going on unpaid leave are fully aware that they can be recalled for duty at one week’s notice.”
The airline has some 12,000 cabin crew and 124 passenger planes.