Emirates Is Reportedly Having Even More Staffing Issues Than Originally Thought

May 8, 2018

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Emirates is reportedly struggling to fully staff some flights with cabin crew after a recent deluge of resignations and other circumstances, airline employees told Reuters.

According to seven Emirates employees, the airline is flying routes with fewer flight attendants than usual, Reuters reports. Also on the rise — the number of flight attendants with last-minute reassignments to different routes in order to meet minimum operation requirements.

Emirates is assigning two fewer cabin crew on some flights in May to “ensure consistency across our aircraft configuration,” an internal email sent in April and viewed by Reuters said.

The airline is famous for its well-heeled flight attendants in their iconic red hats and bright red lipstick.

Emirates told TPG it does “not have a cabin crew shortage.”

“It is true that we slowed down recruitment across the company last year, including for cabin crew, and that we have recently begun actively recruiting new cabin crew again,” an Emirates spokesperson said in an email. “Our recruitment activity, as well as our adjustment of the crew complement on some aircraft types, is all part of any normal business review. We take great pride in our team of international cabin crew, and will always ensure they are trained and empowered to operate our flights safely, and to deliver the best possible service to our passengers.”

Emirates has a fleet exclusively comprised of two long-haul jets: the Boeing 777-300ER and the Airbus A380. These bigger planes take more flight attendants to staff than medium- or short-haul aircraft.

The flight attendant guidelines from the US Department of Transportation and FAA state: “For airplanes having a seating capacity of more than 100 passengers — two flight attendants plus one additional flight attendant for each unit (or part of a unit) of 50 passenger seats above a seating capacity of 100 passengers.”

The Emirates employees said the airline is still meeting the minimum requirements, but the resignations — and a new protocol for sick leave notification — are leaving flights strapped for attendants.

The cabin crew shortage comes after Emirates said in April it would be forced to cut some routes due to a pilot shortage.

The Dubai-based carrier is holding flight attendant recruiting events in cities throughout the world during the month of May. The airline said in March it would be hiring Dubai-based flight attendants. Some of the guidelines for applying include being “personable and positive,” being “able to adapt to new people, new places and new situations” and being “physically fit for this demanding role.”

There are also a litany of physical appearance requirements, too, especially for women: neatly done hair (“tied in a French roll, braid, ponytail or bun, with loose strands pinned up or to the side”), a full face of makeup (“concealer, foundation, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, blush, lipstick, but no lip gloss”), manicured nails (“with nail varnish in clear, red or French manicure”), no visible tattoos, a skirt one inch below the knee, full-length hosiery and heels.

Emirates is the world’s fourth largest carrier and employs about 25,000 cabin crew staff worldwide.

Featured image by KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images.

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