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ExCeL London - 22-23 June 2021
Easyjet has announced it has started consultations with employees
to reduce its staffing numbers by up to 30 per cent to reflect an expected
reduction in fleet size as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In line with IATA’s projections, the low-cost carrier does
not believe it will recover 2019 levels of passenger demand until 2023 and in
Q4 expects to only fly about 30 per cent of that seen in the same quarter last
year. As a result, Easyjet expects its year-end 2021 fleet size to be at the
bottom end of its range at around 302 aircraft – 51 fewer planes than the
anticipated fleet size – and this number will include around 3-4 per cent of
in-crewed standby aircraft during peak times.
As such, Easyjet will undertake a fleet reduction programme,
some of which will be achieved through its previously announced plan to defer
new aircraft deliveries and the re-delivery of leased planes.
The fleet reduction means the airline will seek to cut up to
30 per cent of staff. It employed 15,000 people at the beginning of 2020, and most
UK-based employees are currently on furlough with flights grounded.
CEO Johan Lundgren commented: “We realise that these are
very difficult times and we are having to consider very difficult decisions
which will impact our people, but we want to protect as many jobs as we can for
the long term. We remain focused on doing what is right for the company and its
long-term health and success following the swift action we have taken over the
last three months to meet the challenges of the virus.
“We want to ensure that we emerge from the pandemic an even
more competitive business than before so that Easyjet can thrive in the future.”
Pilots union BALPA has hit back at the planned redundancies,
calling the move an “ill-considered knee-jerk reaction”.
The news comes as British Airways, Ryanair and Virgin
Atlantic are collectively considering up to 18,000 job cuts, with Virgin Atlantic
pulling services from Gatwick.
Easyjet said it is also undertaking other cost-cutting
measures, such as revising contracts for airport and ground handling teams,
deferring time-dependent maintenance due to reduced flying and renegotiating
spend with selling and marketing agencies. The airline raised £600 million
through the UK government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility and recently
signed two additional term loans totalling £400 million. It has also fully
drawn down an existing US$500 million credit facility and is in discussions
with lessors to sell and lease some of its excess aircraft, which it expects to
raise another £500 million to £650 million.
The airline is planning to restart domestic services in the
UK and France on 15 June and expects to be able to resume flights to other
parts of Europe in the coming weeks. A number of biosecurity measures will be
in place, with passengers, cabin and ground crew all required to wear masks.