Emirates Airline has temporarily grounded some aircraft to optimize operations as demand slows and fewer flight crew are available.

The Dubai-based carrier, responding to ATW on reports that six Airbus A380s and 14 Boeing 777s are in storage for the month of May at Dubai World Central, confirmed it has “some aircraft units on the ground over slower periods, which is common industry practice.”

The airline said fleet deployment and operating schedules are regularly reviewed to make sure they are in line with seasonal travel patterns and to ensure optimal utilization across its network.

A spokesperson confirmed flight crew numbers were about 100-150 down on where Emirates should be.

However, Emirates president Tim Clark recently told ATW  the flight crew shortage is a “short-term thing and we are working hard to overcome it. Clark said Emirates will restore its pilot numbers by September or October this year.

“We’ve always been aware of the ebb and flow of pilot supply. That’s why we opened our flight training school last year, so we can control our own supply of pilots instead of being at the mercy of the marketplace.”

Emirates currently has 170 cadets in training. 

Clark said Chinese carriers are “offering extremely competitive [salary] packages, if you want to live in Shanghai or Beijing” and that was attracting a certain number of flight crew.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at