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Furloughed Pilots in UAE Starts New Career as Butchers


A group of airline pilots in the UAE starts new careers as butchers after being given unpaid leave due to the pandemic.

Photo: The National News

The four Emirates Captains from South Africa, Italy, and the UK are working at the Organic Foods and Cafe five days a week since March.


“ I think initially what I found challenging was being on my feet for eight or nine hours a day. As pilots we’re used to sitting, so during the first few weeks I would go home with really sore feet” - Captain Michiel Smit

The airline has given 12 months unpaid leave since last November with the possibility of an early recall.


The cafe manager approached the pilots through mutual friends with the idea as many pilots are regular customers at the cafe.


“Over the past year, people the world over have been under a lot of pressure with job losses and salary cuts, so it was just something we thought of doing to help them out while waiting to go back flying.” - Jan Pretorius, Operations Manager, Organic Foods and Cafe.

Emirates is no longer planning to lay off any employees as the airline is expecting its operations to increase up to 70% by the end of the year.

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