Etihad flags more cabin crew job cuts, Airbus A380s grounded

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Etihad Airways told cabin crew on Wednesday there would be layoffs this week, an internal email showed, and a company source said the airline’s Airbus A380 superjumbos have been parked “indefinitely” after a slower than expected recovery in demand.

In the internal email seen by Reuters, cabin crew were told those affected would be notified within 24 hours, without saying how many would lose their jobs.

The notice was sent out two days after a letter gave pilots at the Abu Dhabi state carrier similar news.

Etihad has already cut jobs and salaries as its losses widened this year.

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Staff were told in the email that Etihad believes it will become a much smaller airline as air travel demand has not recovered quickly enough, leaving the carrier with a larger workforce than needed.

A company source said up to 1,000 cabin crew job cuts are expected, including senior cabin staff and cabin managers.

The airline employed around 4,800 cabin crew as of February.

In a second email sent on Wednesday and seen by Reuters, Etihad told the remaining staff it still has a surplus of cabin crew. However, the airline will manage that with an unpaid leave program, it added.

The source said that Chief Executive Tony Douglas had told staff its A380s would continue to be parked “indefinitely.”

They have been grounded since March because the pandemic has greatly reduced air travel demand.

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An Etihad spokeswoman told Reuters the A380s would remain grounded unless demand increased sufficiently. She did not respond to questions about the planned job losses.

The International Air Transport Association has said that inconsistent border rules have hampered the airline industry’s recovery, making it difficult for airlines to plan.

A new wave of infections and lockdowns across Europe and elsewhere has added to the uncertainty for the aviation industry as it faces its worst ever crisis.

Etihad this week said it would push ahead with plans to shrink the airline into a mid-sized carrier concentrating on its wide-body fleet, raising questions about the future of its 30 narrow-body Airbus A320 jets.

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