Ryanair to cut up to 3,000 jobs because of Coronavirus crisis

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

The airline faces the same collapse fate of its competitors, including Lufthansa and Air France, due to the downfall of air travels caused by Covid-19 lockdowns.

Michael Kevin O'Leary, Chief Executive Officer of Ryanair and also one of Ireland's wealthiest businessmen, has criticised the budget airline further hit out at the State recovery as “economic doping” and “deliberately unjust”.

The jobs confirmed to withstand will be mainly the pilots and the cabin crew’s ones, while the rest of the staff faces unpaid leave, and will have their pay cut by up to 20%.

Ryanair is also planning to shut down “several air bases across Europe” until the demand for air travel heals from the current pandemic outbreak.

Image credit Il Messaggero

This news comes right after the announcement made by British Airways on Wednesday projecting to cut a quarter of its staff as part of a broader plan of which 12,000 jobs will remain unfilled because of the Covid-19 pandemic - check the Wednesday article out for more information about British Airways jobs cut.

The harmful impact of the infection on the aviation industry has been highlighted by Heathrow airport chief executive John Holland-Kaye too, as the number of passengers travelling through the airport dropped by 97% last month, compared to the numbers revealed on April 2019.

John Holland-Kaye also warned that millions of jobs could be hit if Heathrow doesn’t awake from this drastic bout and run soon, given its business dependence on aviation.

The Chief Executive Officer of Ryanair, Mr O'Leary, already saw a salary cut of the 50% in April and May, a decision to agree to extend this pay cut for the rest of the commercial year up to March 2021.

The airline said its flights will continue to be grounded until “at least July”, even if passenger records will not go back to 2019 levels “not earlier than summer 2022”.

For the rest of 2020 until the end of March 2021, Ryanair predicts it will have fewer than 100 million passengers. Its target for the period is usually 154 million.

Interviewed by Sky News, Mr O'Leary declared: “We have never had to deal with a period like this in the airline industry.”

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary, aboard on one of his aircraft at Stansted Airport, Image Credit Stefan Rousseau, PA Wire

He further claimed: “When we will return to flying, it’s clear we are going to have to do so with both hands tied behind our back, as our competitors Lufthansa have just received €12 billion in governmental aids and Air France is going to receive €10 billion in State relief. These companies will have the money to keep selling below cost for the next three or four years. So, not only we are facing less flying with fewer flights, but prices are going to be extraordinarily low, which is good for customers but bad for the airlines. And if we are going to have third fewer passengers this year, I am afraid we are going to need fewer pilots and less cabin crew.”

Mr O'Leary announced the 3,000 jobs cut amounts to 15% of the Ryanair entire workforce.

Mr O'Leary remarked his sorry, and said he regretted the decision to cut so many jobs, but also mentioned it is the only choice left for well-run airlines like Ryanair and others to survive and compete against Lufthansa and Air France, which are receiving tens of billions of public aid from their national governments.

Brian Strutton, the general secretary of the pilots' union “BALPA” responded to the threatened cuts: “There has been no warning nor previous conversation by Ryanair about the 3,000 job losses and this is awful news for pilots and staff who have already undergone pay cuts under the government job retention scheme.

Passenger aircrafts stand at London Heathrow airport. Image credit Simon Dawson for Bloomberg

“Ryanair appears to have done a U-turn on its capacity to withstand the pandemic storm. As aviation industry workers are now approaching a tsunami of job losses. The UK government has to stop daydreaming and stick to the promise made by the chancellor on March 17th to help the airlines or the aviation industry, which is integral to the UK economy, which otherwise will be destroyed.”

Ryanair to this regard also announced it is in “effective consultations” with Boeing to cut the number of planned aircraft deliveries over the next 24 months.

It expects to report a net loss of more than £87 million (€100 million) between April and May, with “additional losses” in the following three months.

The statement did not stop there: “Ryanair faced this abnormal crisis with almost £3.5 billion (€4 billion) in cash, and we keep managing these cash resources very carefully, to guarantee the company survival within the Covid-19 tsunami, and more crucially the return to lower fare flight schedules as early as possible.”

Meanwhile, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye kept stressing the significance for the airport to kick-starting the UK economy.

When interviewed at Ian King’s Live programme he explained: “We tend to think of aviation as just being us going on our holidays but it's not only that. The aviation from Heathrow is exports getting all over the world, it is our supply chain coming here for manufacturing too. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs rely on long haul planes from Heathrow, and unless we can get Heathrow up and running again as soon as possible, then the UK economy will be stuttering to recuperate from this.”

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