Sources claim Etihad Airways is planning yet another round of cabin crew redundancies with some reports suggesting the airline may only have 1,500 cabin crew by the start of 2021. Around eight months ago, the Abu Dhabi-based airline said it employed nearly 5,000 members of cabin crew, as well as almost 2,000 pilots out of a total workforce of 20,457 employees.
Etihad has admitted to making redundancies across its business but has not revealed exactly how many staff have been laid off. The airline says all of the redundancies are “simply another devastating consequence of COVID-19 and a change that cannot be avoided based on the current climate that we find ourselves in.”
Most recently, a leaked internal memo revealed that the airline was pushing ahead with plans to axe in-flight chefs and Food & Beverage managers. While it makes sense for Etihad to cut unnecessary costs, some commentators have questioned whether alternative roles could have been found for the staff impacted by the cuts.
Now, however, it appears Etihad will go much further, with some sources suggesting over 1,000+ cabin crew could be laid off in the coming weeks. The decision comes as a second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic sweeps across Europe, plunging France, Germany and Ireland into renewed lockdowns.
At home, Abu Dhabi has kept a travel ban in place since late March with no sign that the emirate might reopen to tourists anytime soon. In contrast, neighbouring Dubai has been welcoming tourists since July with a pre-departure testing programme.
“The coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to businesses around the world, and Etihad is no exception,” an Etihad spokesperson previously explained.
“It is clear the demand for travel in the near future will be significantly reduced and as a result we must make difficult decisions to ensure Etihad will weather this storm,” the statement continued.
“We are incredibly proud of our world-class workforce, however, we have had to make redundancies across several areas of our business to reflect current market conditions.”
While Etihad has not confirmed how many employees have been laid off, Etihad chief executive Tony Douglas told CNBC last month that redundancies were in the thousands.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.