Etihad hits back at allegations while Nicole Kidman keeps mum
We were thrilled when we found out that Nicole Kidman was the new face of Abu Dhabi airline Etihad, but sadly not everyone shared our excitement.
Last week the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) criticised Nicole’s link with the airline, claiming that her sponsorship deal contradicted her role as a United Nations women’s goodwill ambassador. The union claims that Etihad is known for firing woman who fall pregnant, a claim which the airline has denied.
In an open letter to Nicole, the union’s president, Laura Glading, wrote: “Last month, on March 8, International Women’s Day, you said, ‘I envisage a world where all women and girls have equal opportunities and rights ... Now is the time to step it up. Later that very same week, we saw that you had begun appearing in a new campaign for Etihad, a company that the Wall Street Journal has publicly reported ‘may fire women if they become pregnant’ and forces flight attendants to live in ‘confinement’ in secure compounds. These are the types of conditions that APFA fought to eradicate decades ago in the United States.”
While Nicole has remained mum on the open letter, Etihad hit back at the union’s allegations. The airline said in a press statement: "We strive to attract the top talent in the industry and it’s working. Last year, we were inundated with requests from people for the opportunities Etihad Airways offers – with more than 260,000 who applied to join the airline from all over the world - 57 times more applications than we had total job openings which included 1,700 crew position and approximately 500 pilot openings."
The statement continued: "Our commitment to the welfare, safety, and well-being of the diverse group of men and women who have worked so hard to make Etihad Airways great is one of our airline’s top priorities." Speaking specifically about the pregnancy allegations, the airline said it "fully supports its cabin crew during and after their pregnancy,” adding "When a cabin crew member informs Etihad of a pregnancy, she is provided with appropriate ground duties for the duration of their pregnancy. During this time, she remains fully compensated and fully engaged on the ground. Cabin crew are also entitled to paid maternity leave if they have completed more than one year’s service. Our cabin crew are then able to return to their flying role at the end of their maternity leave period. The health and safety of our cabin crew remains paramount. Therefore, we follow the GCAA requirement that crew do not continue to fly while pregnant."
With a statement like that, Nicole can sit back, relax and enjoy her flight…