Etihad Air
Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways is 'asking cabin crew staff to take paid leave', according to an internal email, Reuters reported. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Etihad Airways said on Wednesday it is asking some staff to bring forward their leave from later this year to April amid a reduction in operations due to the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19).

An Etihad spokesperson told Gulf News that the carrier “has asked cabin crew members to consider bringing forward paid leave from later this year to April, due to changed demand caused by the Covid-19 virus.”

“Global restrictions on travel and re-timing of events have caused many passengers to change their travel arrangements, and the airline is among many realigning resources to accommodate these changes,” Etihad said.

The statement comes after Reuters reported that the Abu Dhabi carrier was asking cabin crew to take paid leave. The report cited an internal email sent to staff.

Dubai’s Emirates has already announced a similar step, saying on Tuesday it has told employees to utilise their leave plans or take voluntary unpaid leave for up to one month at time. It also has had to amend its operating schedule by either reducing frequencies or cancelling flights to certain destinations, due to the virus outbreak.

Etihad stressed that it “has not asked staff to take unpaid leave.”

The changes in schedules due to the coronavirus outbreak are hitting various airlines across the world that have been forced to suspend flights to markets that include China, Hong Kong, and Iran. UAE airlines are among those feeling the brunt of the coronavirus, with China being one of the largest source markets for visitors arriving to the UAE.

The coronavirus has so far infected over 94,000 people across the world, and caused over 3,000 deaths, with those numbers still rising as the virus spreads.