Skip to main content

Report: Emirates offers unpaid leave to pilots, cabin crew

The Dubai-based airline continues to rebuild its flight network amid the coronavirus pandemic but has experienced financial setbacks.

The Dubai-based airline Emirates is offering some pilots and cabin crews the option to take four months or less of unpaid leave. It is the latest measure the major international carrier is taking to stay afloat financially as it rebuilds its flight network amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Certain Emirates pilots and flight attendants can take the unpaid leave between August and November. They would still receive benefits such as housing during this time, Reuters reported today. The outlet cited an internal email at the airline. Emirates spokespeople declined Al-Monitor’s request for comment.

Emirates, which is owned by the Dubai government, suspended most passenger flights in March during the coronavirus pandemic. In May, the airline resumed many international flights and has continually added destinations on multiple continents since then. Dubai is a major international flight transfer hub.

Like other Emirati and Gulf airlines, Emirates has struggled financially with the decrease in global travel resulting from the virus. In June, Emirates laid off hundreds of pilots and cabin crew. An Emirates spokesperson told Al-Monitor at the time that the job cuts were due to the effects the pandemic had on their business.

Emirates continues to resume services to multiple countries, despite the financial setbacks. The airline will be offering flights to 63 destinations by August. Dubai is also now allowing tourists again.

The United Arab Emirates is making a push for tourists to visit the Gulf country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ communications director said tourists are already coming in a tweet today.

“With one of the world's highest testing rates, a low caseload & stringent health protocols, the UAE is one of the safest countries to visit,” tweeted Hend Al Otaiba. “UAE airlines are at the forefront of innovation on travel in the age of Covid-19.”

Many airports in the Middle East have reopened recently or will soon reopen for regularly scheduled passenger flights, including airports in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial