Etihad cuts jobs in cost reduction drive as Gulf carriers face long-haul blues

Etihad says there will be "a measured reduction of headcount in some parts of the business."

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A plane of Etihad Airways company lands at Minsk international airport near the village of Slabada, Belarus, May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has said it is cutting jobs as part of a restructuring operation aimed at cutting costs in the face of eroding revenue from long haul operations.

Etihad, which along with Emirates and Qatar Airways made Middle East a global aviation hub, did not say how many jobs will be cut. It said there will be "a measured reduction of headcount in some parts of the business."

"Etihad Airways is operating in an increasingly competitive landscape, against a backdrop of weakened global economic conditions ... To ensure we remain agile and competitive in this environment, we constantly explore and pursue new ways of driving productivity and improving efficiency so that we can continue to deliver on our mandate and vision," the airline said in a statement.

The job cuts at Etihad come after Dubai's flagship airline Emirates announced huge losses recently.
After years of frenetic expansion Etihad witnesed a stall in fleet growth and the number of destinations in 2016. Etihad, promoted by the Abu Dhabi emirate, saw a decline in passenger numbers in its Abu Dhabi base.

One of the challneges for the Gulf carriers is that their unchallenged status as a favoured hub for long distance flights crisscrossing the globe is steadily on the decline with the arival of aircraft like Boeing 787 Dreamliner that can conduct long haul operations at a stretch.

The airline, which was launched in 2003, has 26,769 employees. The company also owns 49 percent stake in Alitalia, 29 percent in Air Berlin, 40 percent in Air Seychelles and 24 percent in India's Jet Airways, according to AFP.