Icelandair has decided not to permanently fire each of its flight attendants and replace them with pilots after the airline managed to sign a last-minute deal with the cabin crew union.
The Icelandic airline shockingly announced on Friday that it planned to fire all of its flight attendants as negotiations for a new collective agreement stalled. As part of the plan, Icelandair intended to have the pilots resume their duties in the passenger cabin. Icelandair justified its decision because on-board service is currently limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the pilots would require little training.
However, the pilots should have taken a crash course in safety and emergency procedures and probably should have obtained what is called a cabin crew certificate under European aviation rules. The airline said it only wanted to use pilots temporarily while they found a whole new workforce of flight attendants.
Sunday morning, around 02:00 (local time), Icelandair announced that it had finally succeeded in reaching an agreement with the Cabin Crew Association. Mass layoffs are ruled out and pilots will no longer become substitute flight attendants.
“Despite the failure of negotiations between Icelandair and the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFI), the parties managed to resume discussions and signed a new collective agreement which is valid until September 30, 2025”, the airline said. in a press release.
“The current agreement results in a further reduction in operating costs without adversely affecting the working conditions of cabin crew members,” the statement said. “As a result of these advancements, Icelandair pilots will not take responsibility for on-board safety and the most recent cabin crew layoffs will be withdrawn.”
The deal, however, has yet to be approved by a flight attendant vote, but it is likely be given a green light.