Etihad Airways asks crew to rethink leave plans amid virus outbreak

Etihad Airways asks crew to consider bringing planned leave forward as passenger traffic takes international dip
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Etihad Airways on Wednesday said it has asked cabin crew members to consider bringing forward paid leave from later this year to April, due to changed demand caused by the new coronavirus, reported Arabian Business.

Global restrictions on travel and retiming of events have caused many passengers to change their travel arrangements, and the airline said in a statement that it is among many realigning resources to accommodate these changes.

"Etihad has not asked staff to take unpaid leave," an Etihad spokesperson added.

The move comes just days after Emirates airline asked staff to take voluntary paid and unpaid leave as the effects of the coronavirus across the world ramps up.

The Dubai-based carrier halted most flights to China and suspended operations to Iran, the epicentres of the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the current coronavirus crisis has cost Middle East airlines up to $100 million.

Gulf countries have all suspended flights to Iran, while the UAE has limited flights in China to just Beijing. Airports in the region have also restricted arrivals from countries hardest hit by the deadly virus, in an attempt to reduce its spread.

IATA, which represents around 290 airlines, also said that a forecast growth of 4.6 percent in passenger demand in the Middle East for this year is likely to be halved to just 2.3 percent, should conditions persist. 

As of Wednesday, global coronavirus cases totalled 94,347 with 3,222 deaths reported.

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