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Ryanair to cut hundreds of jobs as Brexit dampens demand

Airline boss admits: ‘We have too many staff’

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Thursday 01 August 2019 07:28 BST
Related video: Boeing forced to store 737 Max jets in car park in June 2019
Related video: Boeing forced to store 737 Max jets in car park in June 2019 (AP)

One year on from the pilot shortage that dogged Ryanair all autumn and winter, the airline’s boss has said he has too many pilots and cabin crew on the books.

In a video message to staff, chief executive Michael O’Leary said that Brexit uncertainty is dampening demand.

In addition, Europe’s biggest budget airline has fewer planes to fly than anticipated.

Ryanair was due start flying the Boeing 737 Max aircraft in May 2019. But the new plane has been grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people.

On Monday, the airline said it will receive the first five of a total of 210 Max aircraft in “January at the earliest”, and will have only 30 in service by the start of the summer 2020 season – barely half the intended number.

Mr O’Leary told staff that 500 pilots and 400 cabin crew are surplus to current requirements.

“We over the next couple of weeks will be doing our very best to minimise job losses, but some are unavoidable,” he said.

Pilots and cabin crew will be told about their future in September and October, with a further tranche of job cuts expected in the new year.

In addition, 600 new posts planned for 2020 will not now be created.

A spokesperson for Fórsa, the Irish trade union, said: “Today’s development is obviously of concern to Ryanair staff, including Fórsa members. At this point the union has no specific information about the routes or bases that may be affected.

“Fórsa is watching the situation closely, and has told the airline’s management that it expects to be consulted on any measures that could impact on the jobs, incomes or working conditions of union members.”

On Monday, Ryanair revealed its profits from April to June 2019 were down one-fifth on the previous year.

The airline’s UK-based pilots are currently being balloted on industrial action in a dispute over a wide range of issues.

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