The growing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has forced Emirates to ground over 20 of its Airbus A380 aircraft. This is a result of low demand for travel amid the pandemic.
Bloomberg reports that the UAE-based carrier is also planning to ground more of its jets. Altogether, the airline operates 115 A380s and 115 Boeing 777s, and much of these units will be redundant in the coming months.
In addition to the groundings, the A380’s largest customer is also looking to slow down the last few deliveries of its incoming units. The firm is planning to take eight more of the double-deckers but is discussing the timing of the arrivals with Airbus.
At the time of writing, there are over 70,600 confirmed active novel coronavirus cases across the world and numbers are starting to grow rapidly across continents outside of Asia. Authorities are still reviewing the best practice when it comes to handling the ever-changing situation.
Restrictions in place
Emirates prides itself on connecting travelers in all directions from its hub in Dubai. There was already a natural drop in demand due to passenger fears of coronavirus. However, governmental suspensions and travel bans are becoming more common, forcing airlines to ground much of their fleet.
Along with the existing restrictions in place with regards to the epicenters of China and Italy, several countries are expanding suspensions across Europe.
Additionally, Saudi Arabia has banned flights to and from 39 countries, including all EU and Gulf nations. Kuwait has suspended all commercial flights indefinitely. This is traffic that Emirates usually heavily relies on daily.
Altogether, the aviation industry has been rocked by the outbreak. This has also no doubt had an impact on the lives of numerous passengers who rely on air travel for both personal and business needs.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airline passenger revenues could drop as much as US$113 billion this year if the virus continues to spread.
The group understands why restrictions have to be put in place but recognizes that these measures can be detrimental if they continue unnecessarily. Perhaps if the situation continues into the year, authorities and airlines will need to work together to implement firm but balanced solutions.
Local economies that rely heavily on tourism and intentional business will also be hoping that the mood shifts in the coming months to reduce the negative impact.
What are your thoughts on airlines continuing to ground aircraft due to the coronavirus outbreak? Are you one of the passengers affected by flight cancellations? Let us know what you think in the comment section.
Simple Flying reached out to Emirates for comment on its aircraft groundings but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.