Easyjet will fire up to 30% of its staff, 4500 jobs will be cut

28.05.2020 at 16:01

Travel news

EasyJet has said it will cut up to 30% of its workforce – about 4,500 jobs – as it struggles with a collapse in air travel caused by the virus pandemic.

The airline did not say exactly how many jobs would go, but it employed 15,000 people at the start of 2020.

Pilots’ union Balpa reacted angrily, describing the move as an “ill-considered knee-jerk reaction”.

EasyJet, which has big operations at Gatwick and Luton airports, confirmed it would restart flights on 15 June.

However, it said that levels of market demand seen in 2019 were not likely to be reached again until 2023.

It added that in the coming days, it would launch an employee consultation process on the planned job cuts.

It grounded its entire fleet in March as global travel came to a near-halt.

“To effect the restructure of our business, EasyJet will shortly launch an employee consultation process on proposals to reduce staff numbers by up to 30%, reflecting the reduced fleet, the optimisation of our network and bases, improved productivity as well as the promotion of more efficient ways of working,” the firm said.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “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.

He said the airline was planning to reduce the size of its fleet and would continue to cut costs.

“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.”

Other airlines have already announced job cuts and restructuring programmes as they fight to stay in business. These include:

  • British Airways, which is set to cut up to 12,000 jobs from its 42,000-strong workforce
  • Ryanair, which is set to cut 3,000 jobs – 15% of its workforce – with boss Michael O’Leary saying the move is “the minimum that we need just to survive the next 12 months”
  • Virgin Atlantic, which has announced it is to cut more than 3,000 jobs in the UK out of a total of 10,000 and end its operation at Gatwick airport.

EasyJet typically operates about 2,000 flights a day across 36 countries, mostly in Europe. The airline grounded all 334 of its planes at the end of March due to travel restrictions and furloughed 4,000 UK cabin crew.

It later tapped the UK government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility to raise £600 million ($746.6 million).

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