Abu Dhabi-headquartered Etihad Airlines has come under fire for its decision to add a $1,500 surcharge for Filipinos heading home.
Amid a tightened travel ban, commercial flights between the United Arab Emirates and Manila operated by Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have been cancelled through to June 30. UAE carriers Emirates and Etihad, meanwhile, continue to fly to Manila, but are only taking transit passengers with Etihad adding a hefty premium on tickets as available capacity tightens.
Etihad is a key airline moving Filipino seafarers around the world. The Philippines remains one of the world’s top two sources of crew for the global merchant fleet, alongside China.
Captain Kuba Szymanski, the secretary-general of InterManager, the association for third-party shipmanagers, hit out at the Etihad surcharge in a video post on Twitter yesterday, saying the decision was a “disgrace” given how seafarers had been a trusted source of revenue for airlines during the pandemic downturn.
Another Middle Eastern airline, Qatar Airlines, one of the most important transporters of seafarers during the pandemic, continues to call in the Philippines.