Etihad to suspend flights to SA
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Etihad Airways has announced that it will be suspending flights between Abu Dhabi and South Africa for several months.
A spokesperson for the airline confirmed the news to Travel News, saying that the suspension is due to the decreased demand from passengers.
“Due to the continued impact of Covid-19 on global travel, a number of Etihad routes to and from Abu Dhabi remain suspended throughout the winter 2020/2021 season,” the spokesperson commented.
The routes that will be affected are the Johannesburg-Abu Dhabi flights during South Africa’s summer season, which also happens to be peak season for tourists.
In the meantime, Etihad said that passengers that are in scheduled flights from SA are being notified, and that arrangements have been made to accommodate them on alternative flights.
“Etihad is working closely with impacted guests to notify them of the change to their itineraries and to re-accommodate them on alternative flights,” the spokesperson added.
The airline also said that it will allow passengers to claim refunds by “also providing flexible options for existing bookings”.
The news comes after Reuters reported last week that the airline told cabin crew there would be staff layoffs, according to an internal email.
A company source said the airline's Airbus A380 superjumbos have been parked "indefinitely" after a slower than expected recovery in demand.
In the internal email seen by Reuters, cabin crew were told those affected would be notified within 24 hours, without saying how many would lose their jobs.
The notice was sent out two days after a letter gave pilots at the Abu Dhabi state carrier similar news.
Staff were told in the email that Etihad believes it will become a much smaller airline as air travel demand has not recovered quickly enough, leaving the carrier with a larger workforce than needed.