Today’s news in brief:
Lufthansa lets go of 103 cabin crew in India
It’s a sad time for Lufthansa’s cabin crew in India - most of whom have been let go by the German airline.
The Star Alliance carrier said it would not be extending the fixed-term employment contracts of 103 of its Delhi-based flight attendants, blaming the "severe financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic".
The airline, which is burning through "several hundred million euros every month", said: "Lufthansa – like all airlines worldwide – must take steps to secure its future.
"Since we must plan with 150 fewer aircraft in the long run (by 2025) it follows that required cabin staff in all our markets is also affected. Even now, low demand for international air travel resulting particularly from government restrictions leaves cabin staff with little or no work left to do."
Blaming unions for the terminations, Lufthansa said it had earlier agreed a plan to save jobs in Delhi, only for the union to go back on the deal.
"We exhausted every possible option and had even already reached an agreement with the Indian union. It would have avoided compulsory redundancies for our cabin staff. We had signed an agreement with the union, providing for two years of unpaid leave, with Lufthansa continuing to provide the local health insurance – even for enrolled family members. Lufthansa was also willing to absorb all associated premiums during this period. Unfortunately, consent to the agreement was revoked by the union on December 31. Indian cabin crew with unlimited contracts are not affected as Lufthansa was able to reach individual agreements with the these flight attendants."
Indian staff affected have been holding protests in Delhi, complaining that similar terminations have not taken place in Germany. Lufthansa insists that its restructuring is not limited to India.
Coronavirus takes 19 Air India staff
Air India lost 19 members of staff to coronavirus, while as many as 20 per cent of the airline’s workforce contracted the infection, it’s being reported.
Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said a total of 1,995 Air India personnel, including crews deployed on Vande Bharat repatriation flights, tested positive for Covid-19 up to February 1.
Of those infected, 583 members of staff were hospitalised, though thankfully there were no fatalities among crew members.
Etihad is world’s first airline to vaccinate all crew against Covid-19
Etihad Airways has become the first airline in the world to vaccinate all its pilots and cabin crew against Covid-19.
The UAE carrier made the announcement earlier this week, saying it would help "curb the spread of Covid-19 and give passengers who travel with the airline peace of mind".
Tony Douglas, group CEO, said: "We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of COVID-19 but to make travellers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us.
"We are the only airline in the world to make Covid-19 testing mandatory for every passenger and crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100% vaccinated crew on board."