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Etihad Warns Pilots of More Imminent Compulsory Redundancies, Memo

Etihad Warns Pilots of More Imminent Compulsory Redundancies, Memo

Etihad Airways to Axe 50 Pilots By End of January in Major Cost Cutting Drive

Etihad Airways is preparing to make scores more pilots redundant as the COVID-19 crisis continues to pummel the aviation industry according to an internal memo sent to flight crew on Monday. The memo came just a day after the Abu Dhabi-based airline said its response to the pandemic would make it a “leaner” and “proudly mid-sized” carrier while announcing the departure of several high-paid executives.

“The hard reality is that, despite all hopes, our industry is simply not recovering quick enough and we will continue to be a much smaller airline for some time,” the memo, which was sighted by Reuters, read.

“Based on all these factors, it has become clear that we have no choice but to further reduce our workforce,” the memo continued. Pilots and other workers affected by the fresh round of lay-offs are set to receive news within days.

Tony Douglas, Etihad’s chief executive who took over in 2017 with a mandate to cut costs and save the airline from a disastrous equity investment scheme, has admitted in media interviews that the carrier has already laid-off workers in the “thousands” as it right sizes in the face of a continued slump in travel demand brought about by the pandemic.

Douglas has not revealed exactly how many employees have been made redundant and the airline has failed to respond to multiple requests for comment on the matter.

In February, Etihad said it employed nearly 2,000 pilots and 5,000 members of cabin crew. Sources claim the airline is also preparing to further reduce its cabin crew workforce, leaving just 1,500 by early next year.

Etihad has already asked pilots and other staffers to take unpaid leave to reduce its overheads but the airline said today that these measures had not been enough and its workforce was “simply too large” for where the airline was at the moment.

Abu Dhabi remains closed to international visitors and residents are advised not to leave the emirate as part of stringent Coronavirus measures.

Emirates, based in neighbouring Dubai, recently asked scores of pilots to take up to 12-months of unpaid leave as it further adjusted to what will be a prolonged recovery from the pandemic. Emirates has also laid-off hundreds of pilots and thousands of other employees in response to the crisis.

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