Emirates asks pilots and cabin crew to take unpaid leave

The state-owned airlines have slashed dozens of routes crucial to their Gulf hubs dependent on millions of passengers passing through each year. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 19 March 2020

Emirates asks pilots and cabin crew to take unpaid leave

  • The airlines had over 21,000 cabin crew and 4,000 pilots at the end of March 2019

DUBAI, MANILA: Emirates is asking pilots and cabin crew to take unpaid leave and Qatar Airways laid off about 200 staff in Doha this week as the coronavirus outbreak hammers demand for travel.

The state-owned airlines have slashed dozens of routes crucial to their Gulf hubs dependent on millions of passengers passing through each year.

Dubai’s Emirates, one of the world’s biggest international airlines, is offering pilots and cabin crew unpaid leave, according to internal staff emails seen by Reuters.

“You are strongly encouraged to make use of this opportunity to volunteer for additional paid and unpaid leave,” an email to pilots said.

There is limited opportunity for unpaid leave for cabin crew who are being encouraged to take paid leave, another email said.

The airline did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tourism and aviation are vital to the economy of Dubai, which does not have the vast oil wealth of some of its Gulf neighbors.

Emirates employed over 21,000 cabin crew and 4,000 pilots among more than 100,000 employees overall at the end of March 2019.

Emirates has told staff the coronavirus epidemic could be the biggest challenge it has faced in many years, frozen recruitment and continues to cut flights as the situation worsens globally.

The UAE on Wednesday said it would bar entry to foreigners apart from diplomats and residents.

Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello told Reuters on Wednesday that the government was trying to ascertain the “real cause” behind the Qatar Airways’ unexpected decision to lay off about 200 Filipino workers.

Qatar Airways, which employed 46,000 people at the end of March 2019, declined to comment.

The layoffs were reported earlier by ABS-CBN. It said the Filipino employees, including engineers and maintenance staff, were laid off on Tuesday and others had also lost their jobs.

State-owned Qatar Airways had warned it would report its third consecutive loss this financial year, which ends this month, before the outbreak battered global travel demand.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, another Gulf carrier, announced more flight cancellations on Wednesday, including to Egypt and India.


South Korea seeks arrest of Samsung heir in succession probe

Updated 04 June 2020

South Korea seeks arrest of Samsung heir in succession probe

  • Jay Y. Lee faces a return to jail just a little over two years after being released from detention

SEOUL: South Korean prosecutors have requested an arrest warrant against Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee, they said on Thursday, in the investigation of a controversial 2015 merger and alleged accounting fraud in a suspected bid to aid his succession plans.
The move spells fresh trouble for Lee, who, if arrested, faces a return to jail just a little over two years after being released from detention in February 2018.
Lee already faces trial on a charge of bribery aimed at winning support to succeed ailing group patriarch Lee Kun-hee, and which involved former President Park Geun-hye, and spent a year in detention until the bribery case was suspended in 2018.
Prosecutors said they sought Lee’s arrest on suspicions of stock price manipulation and audit rule violations, among other offenses.
In a statement, Lee’s lawyers expressed “deep regret” at the prosecution’s decision to seek his arrest, adding that he had fully cooperated with the investigation while Samsung was going through management crises.
Prosecutors have been investigating suspected accounting fraud at drug company Samsung Biologics after the Korean financial watchdog complained the firm’s value had been inflated by $3.7 billion in 2015.
Prosecutors contend the violation helped boost the value of its major owner, Cheil Industries, which counted Lee as its top shareholder, and merged with Samsung C&T, a de facto holding firm, Yonhap news agency said.
Samsung requested an outside review of the investigation to weigh the validity of the indictment and the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office is following the necessary procedures, it said in a statement.
Last month, prosecutors questioned Lee, 51, over the latest investigation. He also apologized for a series of controversies around his succession planning.
Lee’s year in detention followed separate charges that he bribed Park to win government support for the 2015 merger which helped tighten his control of South Korea’s top conglomerate.