Etihad Airways Cargo pulls Airbus freighters from service - reports
Etihad Airways Cargo has pulled its five Airbus freighters from service as part of a rethinking of the airline’s strategy, according to reports by Reuters.
The report further adds that the airline has asked some pilots to take unpaid leave.
Etihad employed 2,225 pilots for a fleet of 122 jets as of February 2017, according to the most recent data on its website. Pilots are reportedly being asked to take voluntary unpaid leave of two weeks to 18 months.
The airline has not commented on those reports, but has confirmed that it has removed its Airbus cargo planes, five A330 Freighters, from service in favour of operating an all-Boeing fleet.
The airline said it had made the decision for “commercial reasons”.
“This freighter [Boeing] is the right aircraft for our long-term requirements,” Peter Baumgartner, the chief executive of Etihad’s airline operations, was quoted as saying in an email to Reuters.
Etihad operates five Boeing 777 Freighters and is considering leasing or selling the Airbus aircraft, according to sources.
The move comes after Etihad’s cargo operations saw stagnant growth in 2016 of 596,000 tonnes handled. Results for 2017 have not yet been released.
The flat air cargo growth comes amid head winds for the airline’s passenger operations as well. Etihad last year cancelled at least five major international routes, including services to San Francisco and Dallas Fort Worth.
Its various minority stakes in other airlines have also become liabilities, with two sold and another two filing for bankruptcy out of the eight it’s involved in.