Emirates has announced that the company will review its contribution to Australian airport operations after being frozen out of the government’s JobKeeper scheme.
Last Friday, the federal government modified the eligibility rules around JobKeeper, preventing businesses owned by foreign governments from claiming.
This week, government-owned Emirates Group warned that the decision to block foreign-controlled businesses from JobKeeper support put 4,500 of the company’s Australian employees at risk. A spokesperson for the company also stated that the current arrangement would confer an unfair competitive advantage on Australian-owned airlines.
The group’s international airport services subsidiary, Dubai National Air Transport Association (dnata), operates check-in, ramp and baggage handling, and aircraft cleaning services across major Australian airports. Dnata also provides catering services to Qantas.
According to the Australian Services Union (ASU), 4,000 of dnata’s Australian-based staff were temporarily stood down on 30 March. While dnata initially committed to rehiring almost all of these employees, the changes to JobKeeper legislation mean those jobs now hang in the balance.
“As a result, we are … forced to review medium, and long-term viability of dnata’s various Australian businesses,” a spokesperson for dnata said in an email, according to Reuters.
“The application of the scheme was critical to the company’s Australian employees, as it meant that we could reinstate previously stood down workers, and keep the rest of the workforce employed.”