Emirates, the state-owned carrier based in Dubai, has laid off about 180 pilots on May 31, as part of its larger plan to reduce costs after being low because of COVID-19.
Sources told Moneycontrol that the 180 pilots were first officers who were under training for type-rating on the A380. These pilots were on probation.
"This is the first phase of the layoffs. These pilots were called to the office and given the letters," a senior executive said. "More announcements are expected tomorrow," the executive added.
Moneycontrol has seen a copy of one of these letters.
While the notice period for those on probation is seven days, the airline said that it is extending this to 14 days, as a 'gesture of goodwill.' The letter added:
"Your last day of service would, therefore, be June 15, and you will continue to receive your usual company medial benefits... should you be unable to repatriate due to travel restrictions, your visa will be extended being your last day of service."
The news comes weeks after reports emerged that the airline will layoff 30 percent of its crew and pilots. This will translate to about 30,000 employees.
Emirates' regional rivals Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have also cut jobs or plan to do so. World over, the aviation sector has been among the most impacted because of COVID-19. Many airlines, including Virgin Australia, have filed for bankruptcy.
In India too, all airlines have been forced to cut jobs and have sent employees on leave without pay. Though domestic flights resumed on May 25, demand has been soft, signalling a tough, and long, road back to normalcy.
Emirates had evolved into one of the most premium airlines globally, with a reputation for fine service. The focus had seen it becoming the largest operator of the jumbo A380 aircraft in the world.
But now it plans to retire a large proportion of its fleet. This would include about 40 of its 115, A380 aircraft.
Though the airline had resumed operations earlier in the month, traffic remains affected as many countries are yet to open up their skies. Emirates President Tim Clark has mentioned that the airline could be up to 30 percent smaller because of the COVID-19.
Moneycontrol has mailed Emirates for a response. The story will be updated once the airline responds.