Is trouble brewing at Etihad Airways?
Etihad Airways is reportedly facing pressure from debt holders to undergo a restructuring. The news comes following reports that the airline was preparing to permanently ground its entire fleet of Airbus A380, cut thousands of jobs and was rethinking its 20 future A350XWBs.
Etihad Airways was allegedly presented with an ultimatum, to restructure or face legal action by its $1.2 billion debt owners, Reuters reported on May 21, 2020.
The news follows another report, also by Reuters, which indicates that the Gulf carrier could be planning to lay off 1,200 of its employees. Previously, on May 19, the carrier said it would “[...] make redundancies across several areas of our business to reflect current market conditions.”
The carrier is also reportedly reconsidering its fleet strategy, which means that the ten currently-grounded A380 jets might never return to service, while the brand-new Airbus A350-1000 would not enter it with the airline at all.
Etihad Airways has an order for 20 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. As of April 30, 2020, the carrier took deliveries of four A350XWBs, Airbus’ books show. None of the five aircraft have been put in service so far.
Etihad Airways has once already significantly downsized its A350XWB order in February 2019. At the time, the airline slashed 40 A350-900s and two A350-1000s from its once-voluminous order.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the carrier is currently operating a “skeleton” network and is preparing for “meaningful” return to operations in the mid-July 2020, according to the company’s CEO Tony Douglas.
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