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United Considers Resumption of US-China Flights



With the breadth of the coronavirus subsiding in China, and business subsequently returning, United Airlines could soon announce a resumption of passenger flights to China.

The likely first flights would be between San Francisco and Shanghai, according to Forbes.

And there’s a reason for that particular route.

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Forbes noted that Shanghai was United’s most-served destination in China with two daily flights from San Francisco, in large part thanks to Apple.

The iPod/iPad/iPhone giant bought 50 business class seats a day on the route, according to an internal United poster from 2019, and accounted for $150 million in annual revenue for the airline. That included $35 million a year from Apple just on the San Francisco-Shanghai route.

It’s also a good time for United – and other airlines, for that matter – to get back in the game. U.S.-based airlines suspended flights to China in late January but, up until a week or two ago, Chinese airlines continued to fly seven to nine flights a week.

That schedule drops to one flight a week, based on a previous decision to limit imported cases of the virus, for the month of April. That, Forbes noted, creates passenger spillover that United can pick up.

Chinese airlines plan to significantly increase flights in May.

A United spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

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Emirates Announces Firing Employees Amid the Pandemic



Emirates Airline, the last holdout among the Gulf region‘s three major East-West carriers in retaining its workforce announced on May 31, 2020, that it had fired an undisclosed number of employees, due to the near-shutdown of global air travel amid COVID-19.

The other two—Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and Doha-based Qatar Airways—had already scaled back in terms of staffing as the virus spread, virtually eliminating passenger demand and causing international borders to slam shut.

While Emirates has been applauded during the pandemic for continuing to run repatriation flights around the globe, as well as delivering cargo and critical supplies, it has been dramatically affected by the halting of international passenger travel, just like the rest of the world’s airlines.

In a statement, the company said, “We have endeavored to sustain the current family as is…but have come to the conclusion that we, unfortunately, have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us.”

Without revealing any particulars of the mass firing, Emirates assured that those being axed from its workforce would be treated, “with fairness and respect.”

ABC News reported that to try and balance some of the immense losses the airline continues to suffer, Dubai’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, injected an undisclosed amount of equity into its operations back in March.

Although the flag carrier, owned by a Dubai sovereign wealth fund, had already reduced its staff members’ pay during the course of the global health crisis.

Meanwhile, Emirates’ home base, Dubai International Airport—typically the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic—has also been running only a fraction of its normal operations.

Dubai, which has positioned itself as a critical hub for the free movement of people, goods and capital from around the globe (all of which the pandemic has disrupted), now depends heavily upon a resumption of activity at its airport.

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