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Emirates subsidiary ‘forced to review’ Australian airport operations

written by Sandy Milne | May 7, 2020

Two Emirates Airbus A330-200s at Dubai Airport (Source: Australian Aviation archives)

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.”


Comments (9)

  • Jay


    Don’t forget airport security staff too.

  • George Mills


    Why should Australian Taxpayers support and prop up multi nationals ( who often pay little or no tax in
    Australia ).
    It’s time the Australian Government restricted Multi nationals from owning and controlling our destiny !

    • David


      unfortunately it is the dnata employees who are being punished, not dnata itself. The whole aviation sector is full of foreign ownership to some degree, yes even the beloved Qantas!

      • IDecimus


        There is a significant difference between a multinational corporation owned by a foreign government and a multinational which is an Australian company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

  • Sahir Siddiqui


    The money would have gone back to the Australian employees of dnata.

  • David Wilson


    Sadly its Australian employees getting hurt here. Very poor decision.

  • Michael Motts


    Australian Citizens, who reside and pay tax in Australia, are being denied a fundamental right of all Australian Tax Payers.These employees are paid in Australia, Taxed in Australia and the company pays payroll tax etc in Australia. An incredibly short sighted decision if implemented.
    If this is applied then it should be applied to all foreign owned firms stating with McDonalds, Coco-Cola etc.

  • KPI


    This is being done because it is owned by a foreign GOVERNMENT, not just foreign ownership and their government can dig in to their pockets to pay their employees.

  • Jack Chomley


    Maybe we need home grown Australian companies to provide these sorts of services to the Aviation industry? In this current case, the employees are the meat in the sandwich?

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