Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways announces leadership changes, job cuts expected

Etihad reported a $1.5bn annual loss last month



Etihad Airways expects to cut staff under a restructuring plan announced on Tuesday that will see group CEO Tony Douglas take over direct responsibility of the airline business.

State-owned Etihad has been overhauling its business since 2016, when it plunged into a loss following a slowdown in airline passenger growth and failed investments in foreign airlines such as Air Berlin and Alitalia.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways reports $1.52bn loss for 2017

The company said on Tuesday the reorganisation would help to improve its operational performance, but did not give any details of, for example, cost savings.

It said group chief executive Tony Douglas had taken over direct responsibility of the airline from Peter Baumgartner.

Baumgartner, who had run the airline since 2016, is now a senior strategic adviser to Douglas, who joined Etihad in January from Britain’s ministry of defence.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad appoints Tony Douglas as group CEO

Douglas told Reuters by phone the restructuring was likely to lead to some redundancies of senior and mid-level management.

He said thousands of employees had left the airline since it started overhauling its business in 2016.

Etihad confirmed last month it would allow some pilots to join Dubai rival Emirates on a temporary basis for two years under a secondment programme.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad says pilots can join Dubai rival Emirates on secondment

Tuesday’s announcement will see Etihad’s various business units restructured under seven divisions headed by a new leadership team reporting directly to Douglas.

The divisions are operations, commercial, maintenance, repair and overhaul, human resources, finance, and support services and transformation.

Few details about Etihad’s ongoing restructuring have been made public, although it has included reviewing billions of dollars of aircraft ordered from Airbus and Boeing .

Etihad, which competes with Emirates and Qatar Airways, also said it had appointed Mohammad al-Bulooki as chief operating officer and Robin Kamark as chief commercial officer.

With contributions from Reuters