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Etihad Airways Makes Even More Cabin Crew Redundant as COVID-19 Restrictions Linger

Etihad Airways Makes Even More Cabin Crew Redundant as COVID-19 Restrictions Linger

Etihad Airways has blamed continuing travel restrictions and border closures for making even more cabin crew redundant in a new memo sent to affected staff – a decision that the airline said would be “completely unexpected” for the crew members who will be laid off. The memo comes just a week after the airline asked cabin crew to take unpaid leave in order to avoid redundancies.

The letter says unpaid leave alone isn’t enough to reduce costs for the emabttled loss-making airline. As of February 2020, Etihad employed around 4,817 cabin crew but hundreds are believed to have already been redundant over the last few months.

Etihad has confirmed it has been forced to make some employees redundant because of the COVID-19 pandemic but has declined to say how many workers have actually been laid-off. The airline has been contacted for comment on this latest development.

“Unfortunately, we need to make a small number of additional reductions to our cabin crew community due to changes in some local regulations schedule,” the letter to affected crew members reads.

“Please know that we’ve been fighting hard against these additional changes and have been working through other potential options to make the savings we need,” the letter continues. “The fact is, that even with other cost-saving initiatives in place, we still have excess in our cabin crew teams based on the flights and services we offer.”

Etihad was forced to ground flights in late March due to COVID-19 restrictions put in place by the UAE government and only restarted regularly scheduled flights in June. Travel restrictions and border closures, however, continue to linger and Abu Dhabi remains closed to visitors.

Just a week after offering cabin crew the option of taking unpaid leave, Etihad now says this isn’t enough to reduce costs.

“I know you may be wondering about whether extended unpaid leave could be an option but it’s simply not feasible,” the letter explains. “There are a number of overhead costs that come with carrying staff, as part of the manpower plans, on long-term unpaid leave hence why we’re unable to offer the option.”

Last week, Emirates also offered cabin crew the opportunity to take between one and three months of unpaid leave but also sent out additional redundancy notices to a small number of cabin crew.

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