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Etihad to cut 50 pilot positions

Etihad Airways will cut 50 pilot positions by the end of January as it continues its turnaround efforts.

In a memo to employees, the airline's vice-president of flight operations Sulaiman Yaqoobi says the reduction in headcount follows a cut in capacity, and is part of the airline's plan for a "7 to 10% reduction in our operating cost across its network."

The memo notes that the airline has 2,065 pilots in its ranks, which is a surplus of around 160 due to the reduced flying by the airline.

He adds that the past year was "extremely challenging", and this is expected to continue into 2019.

"However, while we posted a significant loss at the end of last year, I want to reassure you that we are on the right trajectory and are getting closer to bridging the gap between operating costs and revenue," Yagoobi says.

Etihad reported a $1.52 billion loss for 2017, which was a 22% reduction on the previous year as it started a major transformation initiative.

That saw it cut services to Perth and Edinburgh in 2018, as it changed focus to serving point-to-point markets.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier recently cancelled orders for 10 Airbus A320neos, but has maintained an order for 26 A321neos.

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