Airlines Emirates and Etihad Airways have again asked cabin crew to take voluntary unpaid leave as they try to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to internal memos and sources familiar with the matter.
Aviation has been one of the worst-hit industries during the pandemic, and Emirates and Etihad of the United Arab Emirates have cut thousands of jobs, sources have said.
In an internal memo, Emirates crew were told that they can take unpaid leave for between one and three months from September 1 until November 30 owing to expected staffing requirements.
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Emirates, which in July asked pilots and crew to take four months of unpaid leave, also laid off some crew last week, two sources said, continuing a redundancy process that began in July.
An airline spokeswoman confirmed that unpaid leave has been offered, but she declined to say how many crew have accepted. The spokeswoman did not address the layoffs.
In an Etihad internal memo, staff were told that the airline has more crew than needed and that many are not being rostered on flights, which is not sustainable for the business.
Crew can take between 10 days to six months of unpaid leave from September 16, the e-mail said.
Etihad, which in March asked crew to take unpaid leave, did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request from Reuters for comment.
Gradually Resuming Passenger Services
Emirates and Etihad have been resuming passenger services gradually since June after grounding flights in March. Etihad reported a $758 million core operating loss in the first half of the year. Emirates' first half ends on September 30.