Irish airline Ryanair cuts up to 3,000 jobs over virus

LONDON (AFP) – Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair said yesterday it planned to axe 3,000 pilot and cabin crew jobs, or 15 per cent of staff, with air transport paralysed by coronavirus.

Dublin-based Ryanair added in a statement that most of its flights would remain grounded until at least July and predicted it would take until summer 2022 at the earliest before passenger demand recovers.

The airline now expects to operate less than one per cent of its scheduled flights in April, May and June.

“The Ryanair Airlines will shortly notify their trade unions about its restructuring and job loss programme, which will commence from July 2020,” the group said in a statement. “These plans will be subject to consultation but will affect all Ryanair Airlines, and may result in the loss of up to 3,000 mainly pilot and cabin crew jobs, unpaid leave, and pay cuts of up to 20 per cent, and the closure of a number of aircraft bases across Europe until traffic recovers.”

The cost-cutting measures at the airline, which employs 18,000 staff worldwide, will be implemented “as a direct result of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis”, it added.

Chief Executive Michael O’Leary has meanwhile agreed to extend his 50-per cent pay cut for the remainder of the financial year to March 2021.

Ryanair passenger aircraft on the tarmac at Dublin airport. PHOTO: AFP