MIAMI – Pilots union BALPA raised concerns for easyJet (U2) pilots’ safety after the airline revealed the conditions for its redundancies.

U2 management has told pilot reps that it plans to use ‘sickness’ as a key component in deciding who is losing their job, according to the union.

The airline plans to make more than 700 pilots redundant due to the impact of COVID-19.

BALPA argues that retrospectively punishing these pilots for being ill or unfit to fly is unfair, according to, and could seriously undermine the previously effective and well-regarded flight safety culture of U2.

easyJet Airbus A320-214 OE-IJD. Photo: ©Daniel Sanders

Comments from BALPA General Secretary

Brian Strutton, BALPA general secretary, said, “Flight safety is built on a culture of openness and not fear of repercussions. This is a well understood and fundamental tenet for everyone involved in ensuring our skies are safe.

“It is unnecessary and wrong that easyJet is intending to use sickness as a stick to beat its safety-critical staff. easyJet has in the past rightly encouraged pilots to report in sick or fatigued if they are unfit to fly – that is in everyone’s best interest.”

“Now to turn around and say that doing the right thing means you may lose your job could have a chilling effect on the safety culture in easyJet from now on.”

easyJet procession. Photo: easyJet.

Unjustified Proposition

BALPA’a General Secretary also said, “Not only that, but the time frame easyJet intends to use includes the early coronavirus period when some people were getting sick or having to shield themselves and their families. Should these people be punished by losing their jobs, too?”

“We have yet to see any justification for the scale of job losses that easyJet has proposed. We will continue to fight for every job and will resist any move to use the Covid crisis to undermine easyJet’s reputation as a decent employer.”