Emirates CEO gives workers a hefty bonus, saying they deserve every penny 'of the 20-week profit share'

6 days ago 12

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It seems like every other day there’s a dumpster (or plane wing) fire in the airline industry. But Emirates and Dubai National Air Travel Agency, or dnata, are somehow remaining above the fray amidst a sector-wide crisis. 

On Monday, the Emirates Group reported a 71% increase in annual profit as it raked in about $5 billion —$4.7 billion of that coming from Emirates alone, a 63% year-over-year jump.

Disembarking off its “best-ever financial performance,” the company has some wealth to go around—and workers are set to benefit from this golden era. Employees are about to receive a bonus worth 5 months (or 20 weeks’) of their salaries, according to an internal email as seen by Reuters. This bonus will first be reflected in May’s payroll, per The National. Last year, staff received a slightly larger bonus worth 24 weeks of pay. Since then, the company’s total workforce grew by 112,406 employees, or 10%.

“The business outlook is positive, and we expect customer demand for air transport and travel to remain strong in the coming months,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO of Emirates, said in a press release. He added the group will be keeping an eye on possible headwinds including “oil prices, currency fluctuations, and volatile environments caused by socio-political changes,” but after two years of hitting new personal records, the airline is projecting blue skies ahead and looking to expand.

“Our business model has been tested before, and I am confident in our resilience and ability to respond quickly to opportunities and challenges,” he said. 

Emirates appears to have bounced back from the early-pandemic travel growing pains, as the release states profits for the group over the last couple of years outpaced pandemic losses. Airline capacity also increased by 20%. Emirates’ CEO said 2023 was a year marked by “high demand” for air transport, striking a chord with larger reports of a rebound. The luxury travel market continues to soar, which could be in part why Emirates—the airline built, in part, around a high-quality first-class experience—is doing so well

But not every airline is doing as hot, despite a bounce-back in travel; other companies say they’re feeling the heat from delayed Boeing jet deliveries and issues in retaining staff. Both Southwest and American Airlines reported a weak first quarter. The job of an airline attendant is famously characterized by long hours and low pay. Staffing issues have also intensified, as workers deal with stressful conditions like managing more volatile customers. But Emirates is doing well—and it’s time for its workers to reap the rewards, too, as Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said. Praising employees for their “heroic efforts,” he added that “for powering our collective ambitions and for achieving them, you deserve every dirham of the 20-week profit share,” Khaleej Times, a local Dubai paper, reported. Worth noting, the group is also awarding $1.1 billion to its owner, the Investment Corporation of Dubai.

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