Etihad Laying Off Pilots

Worldwide there’s a significant pilot shortage in commercial aviation. However at Etihad, where the airline has been scaling back from an expansive growth posture, they believe they have too many pilots.

According to an internal memo obtained by Paddle Your Own Kanoo Etihad will be laying off some of their excess pilots this month,

Although our surplus of pilots remains around 160, our aim is to reduce 50 pilots from the entire population of 2,065. The process will be concluded by the end of January 2019, with those affected being approached directly by HR by next week.

The carrier has been working to reduce losses, driven in large measure by bad investments in foreign airlines such as air berlin, Alitalia, and Jet Airways. However Etihad has also been cutting costs from their core brand.

Chauffeur service outside the UAE for premium cabin passengers is gone. They’ve sought to monetize lounge access while removing lounge amenities, and outsourcing lounge operations.

  • Gone is ‘Style & Shave’ and food has been cutback in lounges. Meal and beverage services onboard have seen cutbacks as well. They’ve reduced the size of their fleet. And they’ve already had layoffs.

    Cuts will continue with the airline planning “to reduce costs by as much as 7-10% over the next 12-months.”

    The airline that launched after Gulf Air eliminated its Abu Dhabi hub by hiring away Gulf Air’s CEO adopted a strategy of buying stakes in troubled airlines around the world and redirecting their connecting traffic through Abu Dhabi. But that didn’t work out very well — the available carriers were in some cases real basket cases and not candidates for turning around with new uniforms and group purchasing agreements.

    When energy prices dropped the Al Nahyan family’s appetite for absorbing losses in exchange for growing an international hub airline ran out.

  • About Gary Leff

    Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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    1. Any thoughts on what this might mean for future route cutbacks, especially for routes to the USA, and/or for a possible merger with Emirates?

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