The Dubai-based carrier halted most flights to China and suspended operations to Iran, the epicentres of the coronavirus.
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Following Saudi Arabia’s decision to temporarily suspend issuing tourist visas to people in countries badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak, Emirates stopped flying tourists from more than 20 countries to the kingdom, the company’s biggest market in the Middle East.
A spokesperson for Emirates said: “We can confirm the email was sent to our employees around unpaid leave due to the difficult business conditions.”
German airline Lufthansa on Friday announced that it expects to reduce its flights by up to 25 percent in the coming weeks due to the increasing spread of the new coronavirus.
Due to the “accelerated spread of the coronavirus” the company said it would have to cut the numbers of its short- and medium-haul flights by up to a quarter and ground 23 of its long-haul planes.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation has said that the virus outbreak could mean a $4-5 billion drop in worldwide airline revenue.
Worldwide the virus has hit over 83,000 people in 56 countries and territories.
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