Updated Mar 22, 2020 - Health

Emirates to suspend most passenger flights due to coronavirus pandemic

Emirates airbus

Photo: Krafft Angerer/Getty Images

Emirates, one of the largest long-haul airlines in the world, retracted its announcement Sunday temporarily suspending all passenger flights, now saying it will defer "most" routes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Airlines have been reducing flights at unprecedented rates in order to stop the spread of the virus and as a result of low demand.


  • The carrier will still fly to the U.S., the U.K., Japan, Australia and Canada, a reversal after receiving requests from governments and customers to support the repatriation of travelers, AP reports.
  • The Dubai government-owned Emirates, which is the largest airline in the Middle East, said its employees will receive up to 50% salary reduction for three months, but that it will not cut jobs.

What they're saying:

"The world has literally gone into quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is an unprecedented crisis situation in terms of breadth and scale: geographically, as well as from a health, social, and economic standpoint. Until January 2020, the Emirates Group was doing well against our current financial year targets. But COVID-19 has brought all that to a sudden and painful halt over the past 6 weeks."
"Emirates Group has a strong balance sheet, and substantial cash liquidity, and we can, and will, with appropriate and timely action, survive through a prolonged period of reduced flight schedules, so that we are adequately prepared for the return to normality.”
— Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO of Emirates Group

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Editor's note: This story has been updated to note Emirates' change from "all" passenger flight cancellations to "most."

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