Low-cost carrier Ryanair has said that, following the collapse in air travel since the coronavirus pandemic started, the Irish budget airline now has 600 employees too many in Spain. This current threat to jobs was announced during a Ryanair executive video conference on May 23.
In its roundup of the video conference, Bloomberg reports the no-frills airline saying that 266 pilots and 351 cabin crew jobs could go. While underplaying the severity of the news People Director, Darrell Hughes said,
“That doesn’t mean they’ll all have to be job losses.”
Other cost-saving measures are possible. These include more flexibility with scheduling, lower pay rates for new hires, and employees only working part-time. These need to be explored with unions, according to Hughes.
Ryanair has been scrambling to cut costs
This latest threat to jobs in Spain follows on from the January closure of three bases in the Canary Islands and its Girona base, close to Barcelona. At the time, the closure was blamed on the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.
Since grounding its entire fleet of 273 Boeing 737s two months ago, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier has been scrambling to cut costs. These measures are being taken as Ryanair digs in for what is expected to be a slow recovery.
Ryanair is preparing to resume flights in July
In a bid to salvage a part of the busy summer travel season, Ryanair will resume flights with 40% of its pre-coronavirus capacity. This comes despite a warning by CEO Michael O’Leary that there could be a price war among airlines.
After Ryanair voluntarily grounded its fleet in March, the airline said that it would cut 3,000 jobs, cut pay, and take advantage of the UK government’s COVID-19 emergency lending to help bolster liquidity. Ryanair now expects to fly half the number of people this year than it predicted before the emergency.
On Friday, Ryanair announced that it was closing its Laudamotion base at Vienna International Airport (VIE) with the loss of 300 jobs. Ryanair has said that when it starts flying again in Spain, temporary contracts will not be renewed. The Irish airline also told its workers in Spain that it had two weeks to decide if it would appeal an April court ruling to reinstate 200 workers who got fired when it closed its Canary Island bases. If these employees are restored, they will automatically be added to the surplus staff list.
Ryanair employees will not be tested for COVID-19
CEO Michael O’Leary has also deferred any new investments, halted share buybacks, and slashed pay to save money. The airline’s pre-coronavirus cash burn was 200 million euros a week, which is now down to just 60 million euros per week following the belt-tightening.
When flights start in July, it will not be business as usual in an attempt to comply with some of the new norms brought on by the disease. Some in-flight services will, however, be retained, and all aircraft will be disinfected each night. Ryanair cabin crew will not be tested for COVID-19 before going back to work but will be provided with a washable face mask and given video training.
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