Icelandair fired all its flight attendants Friday and told pilots they’ll be doing those jobs temporarily starting Monday. The airline and the FAs had been in a monthlong labor dispute and on Friday the company ended it. “Icelandair will permanently terminate the employment of its current cabin crew members and permanently discontinue the employment relationship between the parties,” the company said in a statement. “The company’s pilots will temporarily take over responsibility for onboard safety on 20 July.”
There has so far been no reaction from the flight attendants or the pilots but the decision raises immediate questions about the wisdom or even the legality of the move. Pilots don’t get a lot of the training that FAs do in terms of evacuation procedures and rendering aid to passengers and most countries the airline flies to require the correct number of qualified flight attendants to be on board. Under the current circumstances, those safety-related duties would be the full job description. In-flight service is all but nonexistent on flights thanks to the pandemic. The carrier has 36 aircraft, mostly Boeing 757s, and flies to 16 destinations from Reykjavik.