Abu Dhabi’s Etihad denies plans to cut 10% of pilots

Etihad is undergoing a restructuring after posting a $1.87bn loss in 2016



Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways on Thursday denied it was preparing to make more than 10 per cent of its pilots redundant to cut costs.

A source told Gulf Business that the airline had informed pilots of the redundancies during a meeting this week, amid reports that it had grounded five Airbus cargo planes and was asking pilots to take up to 18 months of unpaid leave.

Read: Etihad grounds 5 Airbus cargo planes amid strategy review

The person said attendees of the meeting were told Dubai carrier Emirates had offered to take on up to 300 pilots and a further 60 could be transferred to Fiji Airways.

An Etihad Aviation Group spokesperson denied that redundancies were mentioned during the meeting but admitted some pilots had been asked to take voluntary unpaid leave.

“Etihad Aviation Group is operating in an increasingly competitive landscape, against a backdrop of challenging global economic conditions,” the spokesperson said.

“To ensure we remain agile and competitive in this environment, we constantly explore new ways of enhancing productivity and improving operational efficiency while positioning the company for long-term sustainable growth. Throughout this process, the company remains committed to a transparent and fair communication with its employees while maintaining the highest levels of safety and delivering world-class service to our guests.”

The airline is undertaking a business review under new group chief executive Tony Douglas after posting a $1.87bn loss in 2016.

Read: Etihad Airways posts $1.87bn loss in 2016 amid turbulent year

Etihad, which employed 2,225 pilots as of February 2017, previously announced it was cutting staff in some parts of its business in December 2016.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Etihad confirms job cuts to reduce costs