After firing all flight attendants, Icelandair welcomes them back

Daniel Fridriksson /

The flag carrier of Iceland, Icelandair, had an eventful weekend. After firing its every single cabin crew member and discontinuing the relationship between the airline and the union on July 17, the company welcomed all of them back on July 19, 2020, as the flight attendants caved in and agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement.

Beforehand, starting July 20, 2020, the airline planned to use its pilots as flight attendants, as Icelandair had an abundance of them due to the fact that operations are currently scaled-back due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, after reaching an agreement with Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFI), the Iceland-based airline backtracked the decision and welcomed back its flight attendants after firing every single one of them three days prior.

The new agreement is valid until September 25, 2025. The goal is to improve productivity and flexibility, at the same time ensuring “competitive compensation” for FFI’s members. Furthermore, Icelandair would reduce its operating costs “without negatively affecting the employee terms of cabin crew members,” according to the airline’s statement.

“Due to this progress, Icelandair’s pilots will not take over responsibility for onboard safety and the most recent cabin crew layoffs will be withdrawn.”

The union will decide on the agreement on July 27.

On July 17, 2020, the airline announced that due to the fact that FFI had rejected the new collective bargaining agreement and discussions, despite the rejected vote continued without any conclusion, it would terminate all flight attendants’ contracts.

Instead of flight attendants, pilots would have assumed the responsibility for passenger safety on board, including limited service.

The news comes after Iceland’s flag carrier announced it had three months’ worth of cash left, as it looked to launch a new round of shares to improve liquidity. In addition to negotiations with stakeholders, aircraft lessors and an unidentified credit card acquirer, the FFI union was one of its stumbling blocks. The union’s members rejected the new employment contract, agreed by the management of the union and Icelandair on June 25, 2020.


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