Dubai-based Emirates Airline has denied any recruitment freeze, although sources claim the carrier has currently suspended hiring.
“There is no freeze in hiring,” the airline said in response to a request for comment. No further details were revealed.
However, an anonymous source associated with Emirates confirmed to Gulf Business that recruitment has been put on hold.
“I can confirm an 11-week halt in cabin crew recruitment,” the source said. Many HR and recruiting employees have also been sent on “forced leave.”
The employment freeze is reportedly an unofficial and temporary one pending a complete revamp of the recruitment management structure in the company.
The news comes soon after the airline reported a 4 per cent drop in revenues for its fiscal year ended March 2016 amidst pressurised operating costs.
Although airline profits shot up by 56 per cent, primarily on the back of cheaper fuel, a strong dollar caused a Dhs 6bn drop in revenues.
“The recent decrease in oil prices has lead to a significant reduction in yield. Lower fuel prices mean cheaper tickets so more competition,” the source said.
Several businesses in Dubai and the wider United Arab Emirates have been hit hard by the drop in oil prices, with many institutions in the country also cutting staff to reduce costs.
Banks alone may have cut up to 1,500 jobs in the UAE, according to Bloomberg.
However, the aviation sector is in a better position than many of the other industries and Emirates remains optimistic about growth.
Emirates chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “The strong dollar will continue to be a challenge and we expect low oil prices to be a double-edged sword, good for operating costs but bad for business and consumer confidence.
“But we have to stay ahead of the competition, and that’s why we invest in the business.”
In an exclusive interview with Gulf Business earlier this year, Sheikh Ahmed revealed new initiatives that the airline was planning.
“We will have a number of enhancements coming down the line this year, not only in the air but also on the ground, like the addition of more dedicated lounges across our network, mobile technologies for booking, check-in and so on,” he said.
“Onboard, we recently announced our new Boeing 777 business class seat. It will make its debut in November on our 170th Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. This seat will take comfort to a whole new level, inspired by the interior of a modern sports car with an ergonomically designed headrest and other sleek details.
“We’ve increased the pitch of the seat, which moves into a fully flat position and we have also featured additional amenities like a mini-bar, 23-inch personal screens and the latest touchscreen controller.”
Read more here: Exclusive: HH Sheikh Ahmed on Dubai and Emirates