July 17, 2020 / 2:53 PM / 25 days ago

Icelandair to sack cabin crew but keep flying after failed talks

COPENHAGEN, July 17 (Reuters) - Icelandair will sack its cabin crew and put pilots in charge of onboard safety after negotiations on a collective-bargaining agreement failed between the airline and the cabin crew labour association, the company said on Friday.

It was unclear how many staff would be affected or how flying without cabin crew, usually in charge of onboard safety, could meet international aviation standards. Icelandair was not immediately available for comment.

After a month of talks between Icelandair and the Cabin Crew Association, Icelandair said in a statement negotiations had ended without resolution.

"Icelandair will permanently terminate the employment of its current cabin crew members and permanently discontinue the employment relationship between the parties," it said.

"...Icelandair has been exploring other options regarding safety and service onboard its aircraft. As a result, the company will instruct its pilots to assume responsibility for safety on board but services will continue to be at a minimum, as (they have been) since the impact of COVID-19 started."

Icelandair's pilots would temporarily take over responsibility for onboard safety starting on July 20, it said.

The airline, whose largest market is between Europe and North America via Iceland, said it expected to discuss with counterparties in the Icelandic labour market about future terms for cabin crew members.

Icelandair has suffered during the COVID 19-pandemic as travel restrictions have sent its total number of passengers down to around 3,100 in May compared to around 419,000 in May 2019. (Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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