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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Dubai: Gulf carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways are extending the period of reduced pay for their staff until September as they try to preserve cash during the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The aviation industry has been among the worst hit by the outbreak, which has dented travel demand and forced major airlines to lay off staff and seek government bailouts.
State airlines Emirates and Etihad have operated limited, mostly outbound services from the UAE since grounding passenger flights in March.
They are due to restart some connecting flights this month after the UAE last week lifted a suspension on services where passengers stop off in the country to change planes, or for refueling.
Dubai’s Emirates told employees on Sunday it would extend a three-month wage cut due to end this month until Sept. 30, according to an internal email seen by Reuters.
In some cases, pay cuts will also be deepened, with some basic salaries reduced by 50 percent, the email to Emirates Group employees said. The decision was made after reviewing all possible options to preserve its cash position, it said.
State-owned Emirates Group, which employed 105,000 as of March and includes the airline among its assets, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Emirates had previously reduced basic wages by 25 percent to 50 percent for three months from April, with junior employees exempted.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has extended its salary cuts of between 25 percent and 50 percent to September, a spokeswoman said, as it considers all options to protect jobs and preserve cash.
The airline originally reduced salaries for April.
Etihad, last week, laid off some cabin crew and its not planning any further crew redundancies, according to emails seen by Reuters.
The spokeswoman said there have been redundancies across several areas of the airline, and last month sources told Reuters Etihad was planning to lay off 1,200 employees.
Like other airlines, Emirates and Etihad have laid off staff due to the impact of its business. Fellow Gulf carrier Qatar Airways has said it could lay off up to 20 percent of its employees.
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