- Ryanair said it would fly less than 1% of its schedule in June, as the airline industry goes sideways in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
- It also said it would cut about 15% of its workforce, totaling about 3,000 jobs, while exploring pay cuts and voluntary leaves for other employees.
- In a statement, the airline accused European governments of providing unfair aid to competitors during the crisis.
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The European low-cost airline Ryanair said Friday that it would operate less than 1% of its normal schedule in June and is planning to cut 3,000 jobs, warning that it expects its recovery from the coronavirus to take at least two years.
Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, the Ireland-based carrier said that it would implement a restructuring program starting in July, eliminating the positions. The 3,000 jobs would equal about 15% of Ryanair’s workforce.
The airline said it expects to carry fewer than 150,000 passengers from May through July, as travel restrictions and anxieties over the pandemic persist in Europe. It had originally projected 42.4 million passengers during the quarter. Although it said that it expected some demand to resume between July and September, it expected less than half of the 44.6 million passengers it had previously planned for.
“Ryanair now expects the recovery of passenger demand and pricing (to 2019 levels) will take at least 2 years, until summer 2022 at the earliest,” the airline said in a statement to investors, adding that it expected to report a net loss of over €100 million (about $109.8 million) for the quarter ending in June.
In addition to the job cuts, which will mainly affect flight attendants and pilots, the airline is also looking at pay cuts of up to 20%, as well as offering unpaid leaves to some employees and closing bases across Europe. CEO Michael O’Leary has cut his pay by 50%.
In the statement, Ryanair also accused European governments of bailing out competitors unfairly, saying that airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, and Alitalia will be able to undercut the budget carrier on price.
“When Ryanair returns to meaningful flying from July, the competitive landscape in Europe will be distorted by unprecedented volumes of State Aid from some EU Governments to their ‘national’ airlines,” the company said. “Currently this amounts to over €30 billion.”
The global airline industry has been roiled by the coronavirus pandemic. Various stay-at-home orders, border closures, and calls for social distancing have tanked travel demand.
Airlines have responded by suspending routes, cancelling flights, and grounding planes.