June 11, 2020 / 10:26 AM / a month ago

UAE's flydubai extends salary cuts, puts pilots on unpaid leave: sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - United Arab Emirates carrier flydubai has indefinitely extended the period of reduced pay for employees and placed dozens of pilots on unpaid leave for a year, company sources said.

FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 MAX aircraft bearing the logo of flydubai is parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder

The airline had temporarily cut salaries for three months from April, which an employee had said reduced wages of pilots and engineers by half and cabin crew pay by a quarter.

It extended the pay cut and placed some pilots on unpaid leave in effort to preserve cash, two sources said.

Pilots could be recalled to paid work early if needed, they said.

The airline has operated few, limited passenger flights since March when it grounded services due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

A flydubai spokeswoman said that staff had been offered unpaid leave and that the airline was talking to some pilots and cabin crew about their future but declined to comment further.

“The decisions we have had to take have not been taken lightly and we will extend our full support,” she said.

Aviation is one of the industries worst hit by the virus outbreak, with airlines around the world laying off staff and seeking government bailouts.

Sister carrier Emirates laid off hundreds of pilots and thousands of cabin crew this week as it tries to stave off its own cash crunch, sources have said.

Further job losses at Emirates were expected on Thursday, though scheduled meetings where staff were to be told they had been made redundant were later cancelled, three company sources said.

Emirates did not immediately respond to questions about cancelling the meetings.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Jason Neely and Nick Macfie

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