Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
Etihad Airways has warned staffers that yet more job losses will be announced imminently having already slashed its pre-pandemic workforce by the thousands. Since last April, the Abu Dhabi-based national carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has carried out several rounds of mass redundancies but the airline says it workforce still remains too large for the size of the current business.
“As we all know, the recovery of the airline industry is still slow,” a memo sent to staffers on Sunday warned. “I am sure that we have been watching the news and seeing countries extend lockdowns, hearing announcements about ongoing entry restrictions and reading about even more on-arrival quarantine periods being implemented,” the memo continued.
“The hard reality is that, despite all hopes, our industry is simply not recovering quick enough and we will continue to be a smaller airline for some time. I know that we’ve all been paying close attention to our network, our load factors, the type of aircraft we’re flying and future forecasts.”
“Based on all these factors, it has become clear that we have no choice but to further reduce our workforce.”
Many airlines believe it could take several years for demand to return to something that even resembles pre-pandemic levels and analysts warned that the first half of 2021 would be one of the roughest periods throughout the entire pandemic.
Airlines with strong domestic networks have fared better throughout the pandemic but Etihad relies on connecting traffic on longer international routes through its Abu Dhabi hub.
In November, Etihad’s chief executive Tony Douglas said the airline would become a “proudly mid-sized” carrier, dumping plans to become a global player that could compete head on with the likes of Emirates and Qatar Airways, as well as other long-haul rivals like Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
Sunday’s memo was a copy and paste of a communication sent to pilots in November warning of imminent lay-off’s. Etihad said it employed nearly 2,000 pilots in February 2020 but the airline has not revealed how many have been made redundant since the start of the pandemic.
The airline has already slashed its cabin crew workforce by around 70 per cent and late last year the airline confirmed that it removed in-flight chefs and onboard food & beverage managers.
The remaining crew have recently been ordered into quarantine over fears that flight attendants infected with COVID-19 could cause the airline “brand damage”. Etihad said in a note to crew that several flights had to be cancelled because flight attendants had tested positive for Coronavirus while on layovers.
In 2016, Etihad recorded a record an annual loss of $1.95 billion, followed a year later with a $1.52 billion loss. Those losses narrowed to $870 million last year but in the first half of 2020, Etihad recorded a loss of $758 million.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.