Emirates airline embarks on 'modest restructuring' as growth slows

DUBAI (Reuters) - Emirates [EMIRA.UL], the world’s biggest long-haul airline, said on Monday it was in the process of only a “modest restructuring,” two months after it reported a 75 percent decline in half-year profits due to slower growth and increased competition.

FILE PHOTO: Emirates Airlines aircrafts are seen at Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Ashraf Mohammad/File photo

Gulf carriers who spent years rapidly expanding into markets from South America to Africa are under pressure to adapt to weaker markets, overcapacity and a stronger dollar.

The restructuring at Dubai-based Emirates involves moving employees into new positions that has seen staff both promoted and demoted, a spokeswoman said, adding that a “very small number” of staff had been affected.

“Where roles were impacted, full support has been given to explore redeployment opportunities within the organization,” the spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in December Emirates had offered redundancies to staff working in its head-office in Dubai as part of a review of its workforce.

Around 1,000 employees have left Emirates in the past three months “for various reasons and largely through natural attrition,” the spokeswoman said in a separate statement.

“This is no different from previous years. Role and structure reviews in some areas impacted less than 40 staff during this same period, and a number of these were on a voluntary basis,” the spokeswoman said, adding the company continues to hire new staff.

Emirates, including associated companies under the Emirates Group, employs 103,000 staff, which means the 1,000 jobs gone represent about 1 percent of its workforce.

Other recent changes at Emirates include removing an additional allowance offered to cabin crew who want to live outside company accommodation.

The airline froze its housing allowance policy for cabin crew on Dec. 21 last year, telling staff excess company accommodation is available, sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters.

Emirates did not address questions regarding changes to its cabin crew accommodation policy. The sources said the freeze will be reviewed in March and does not affect employees who already receive the allowance. Married cabin crew are also exempt from the freeze.

Whilst Emirates has also said that it could cut routes, it has recently announced that it is expanding its network with flights to Zagreb and Newark due to start this year.

Editing by Greg Mahlich