Emirates, Etihad cabin crew asked to take unpaid leave again

Emirates has not declared how many staff will take leave

The UAE’s flagship carriers, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways have offered voluntary unpaid leave to their cabin crew as the airlines continue to feel the impact of COVID-19.

"We can confirm that we had offered cabin crew the opportunity to apply for voluntary unpaid leave. We will not be providing figures on employee take-up," said an Emirates spokesperson to media outlets across the region.

According to a memo seen by Reuters, Emirates’ staff have been told they can take unpaid leave for between one and three months, from September 1 to November 30.

Emirates first started asking its cabin crew and pilots to take unpaid leave back in March when the coronavirus crisis started to snowball for the aviation industry. During that time, the carrier said staff were “strongly encouraged” to take unpaid leave.

Similarly, Etihad has told its crew to start taking leave again. In another memo, employees were told they could take between 10 days to six months of unpaid leave from September 16 onwards.

In July, Emirates president Sir Tim Clark told the BBC that the airline could slash as many as 9,000 jobs in an effort to keep the company alive.

Throughout the rest of the year, Clark said the airline will cut as much as 15 percent of its workforce as demand for air travel dries up.

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