LONDON – It has emerged that Emirates Airlines (EK) is aiming to restore full employee salaries by October, while Etihad Airways (EY) continues to cut wages.

For EK, apart from some allowance reductions, there are no plans to recruit the staff it may now need by the end of the year. The airline has pledged to return to its full scheduling by next year, albeit with reductions to some frequencies.

On September 3, a letter seen by Gulf News stated that wages would be restored to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Emirates Boeing 777-31H(ER) A6-ECS. Photo: Anthony Faraone

Etihad Continuing to Cut

As for EY, the airlines will reduce salaries by 10% from this month all the way to December this year. The carrier made an earlier cut of between 25-50% last month.

Etihad has resulted in wage cuts rather than significant numbers of job cuts, which is a strategy that EK adopted instead. EK has not disclosed how many jobs have been axed yet.

Photo: Clement Alloing

A Different Emirates Strategy

Back in July, EK had announced plans to axe 9,000 jobs. This is far different from the thousands of jobs that may have been saved at EY as a result of such wage cuts. According to EK, it is making the following changes to employee allowances effective October 1:

  • Accommodation Allowance: 15% reduction.
  • Education Support Allowance: 10% reduction (with the co-pay of 10% remaining the same)
  • Transport Allowance: 10% reduction.

It remains clear that because of the bailout received by the Dubai Government, the level of job cuts may just stick to that 9,000 number as opposed to more. EY does not necessarily have this level of funding from the Abu Dhabi government just yet, which has enabled EK to restart operations quicker.

Photo: Emirates

Operational Differences

At the moment, Emirates is now operating to 84 destinations currently after it opened services to Lagos and Abuja were opened.

The airline also launched services to Amman, which has increased the airline’s reach in the Middle East to eight cities. EY on May 21 has only resumed regular passenger flights to nine destinations.

London (LHR), Frankfurt (FRA), Paris (CDG), Milan (MXP), Madrid (MAD), Chicago (ORD), Toronto (YYZ), Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL) were the destinations in question.

PHOTO: Christian Volpati.

Etihad’s Handfull

It remains clear that Etihad has a significant amount of work to do in order to restore operations to pre-COVID times once again.

Wage cuts will be something the airline will continue to keep an eye on and whether the financial pinch may cause substantive, further cuts.

Featured Image: Emirates Airbus A380. Photo Sourced from Skift