Emirates to freeze hiring of non-operational staff

July 30th, 2008 - 4:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, July 30 (IANS) The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) national carrier Emirates Airline will freeze recruitment of non-operational staff because of spiralling global oil prices, a top official at the carrier has said in an interview. “The fact is that fuel prices are very high so we are always looking at our costs,” Emirates chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said in an interview to be published in Arabian Business magazine’s Aug 3 issue.

“Sometimes you find things that aren’t that necessary. We cannot freeze new staff because we have 22 new aircraft this year, but when we are talking about non-operational staff we can hold these things for a while,” he said.

He was speaking on board Emirates’ newly acquired Airbus A380 superjumbo that touched down at Dubai International Airport Tuesday evening after a handover ceremony at the European aircraft manufacturer’s Hamburg facility the previous day.

According to the Arabian Business report, excerpts of which were posted on the magazine’s website, the freeze on recruitment would not affect operational staff such as cabin crew and pilots.

But, hundreds of new office-based staff, who were supposed to be hired in view of the acquisition of 22 new aircraft, might now have to wait till the new year to get their appointment letters.

Emirates president Tim Clark said the freeze would last till the airline found more effective ways to deal with the skyrocketing oil prices.

“It will last until we are ready to deal more effectively with the way the price of oil has gone up. We didn’t lay off people, we didn’t downsize. All we did was slow down in certain sections,” he was quoted as saying.

As for compensation that the airline might be entitled to for delayed delivery of aircraft, he said such issues were no longer pending.

Emirates was supposed to receive its first A380 two years back.

“Of course contracts allow for compensation but the last thing we’re after is money. What we’re after is for the aircraft to do the right job for us,” Clark said.

Emirates had revised its fares twice in the last three months because of rising oil prices, the last coming July 16.

Clarke had earlier told a local business daily that the airline was better positioned than most global airlines to ride out the impact of high oil prices.

Fuel costs had taken up around 43 percent of the carrier’s operational expenditure this year, a steep rise from 30.6 percent in April last year.

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