Etihad Receives Welcome News But Passenger Numbers at Abu Dhabi Continue to Fall
Photo Credit: Etihad Airways

A few days ago, Etihad Airways requested a volunteer cabin crew to operate exclusively flights to mainland China for one month during the new Coronavirus outbreak.

While Etihad needed about 70 cabin crew members to meet the challenge, the airline was overwhelmed when more than 300 crews who put their name forward.

Unlike many international airlines, Etihad continues to operate flights to Beijing during the new Coronavirus outbreak – the number of deaths that has now surpassed SARS outbreaks in 2012 and 2013. Etihad welcomes news, but passenger numbers in Abu Dhabi continue to fall

While Etihad has suspended its services to both Chengdu and Shanghai, flights between Abu Dhabi and Beijing will continue at the request of the United Arab Emirates. The Emirates airline also continues to fly to Beijing to maintain an “air rescue line” to mainland China. Etihad offers the cabin crew who volunteer for this task, pays a double flight fee and guarantees three-day rotations with two days off in Abu Dhabi between flights. Table allowances up to the value of CNY300 will also be offered to the crew to spend on room service during their 15-hour depositions. The airline was particularly interested in hearing from Chinese nationals, with an internal note begging them to “support China during this period.” On Wednesday, Etihad temporarily suspended its flights to all other destinations in mainland China as “part of the precautionary measures” to limit the outbreak.

However, authorities in the United Arab Emirates have expressed confidence in the Chinese government to control the coronavirus outbreak. However, both Etihad and Emirates warned passengers to arrive at Beijing International Airport between 6 and 8 hours before the scheduled departure for “full medical screening”. In an attempt to convince the crew about the low risk of flying to mainland China, Etihad Vice President Linda Celestino recently operated a flight to Beijing with other senior managers.