LONDON – easyJet (U2) has today informed its employees, trade unions, airport partners and suppliers for the Italian market that it will start an operational reorganization process in Italy in compliance with the provisions of law and taking into account the current restrictions.

The reorganization comes as U2 needs to manage the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and ongoing travel restrictions in the industry, which worsened by the quarantine measures imposed by different countries, severely impacting travel demand.

In order to face the above scenario and implement the necessary tools to recover in a competitive manner from the crisis, U2 announced last May a significant downsizing of its entire fleet and a plan to optimize its bases and routes throughout the European network.

Photo: John Leivaditis

Cutting of Its Bases in Italy

According to the company, the market forecasts and high degree of uncertainty for the coming years make it no longer possible to postpone a reorganization plan, including that for the Italian market. Such a plan will involve three U2 Italian bases: Milan Malpensa (MXP), Venice Marco Polo (VCE) and Naples Capodichino (NAP).

In order to guarantee the financial and economic sustainability of its operations in the new market environment, the company is planning to reduce its Italian fleet by nine, bringing the total number of aircraft based in the country down, from 36 to 27.

The airline plans to remove one aicraft from its base in MXP (from 22 to 21 aircraft), reduce from seven to four those based in NAP, also reducing from seven to two those based in VCE.

These decisions come as a result of a comprehensive analysis and is part of U2’s strategic plan to maximize the profitability of the whole network and bases across Europe in order to allow it to emerge stronger from the crisis.

easyJet Airbus A320-214 reg. OE-IVW taxing to the gate at Naples International Airport (NAP). Photo: Marco Macca – @aviator_ita

Statement from easyJet

Lorenzo Lagorio, U2’s country manager in Italy, said, “Air transport is without any doubt one of the industries which have been more affected by the pandemic. The company entered into the crisis with one of the strongest balance sheet in the industry.”

“It has put in place extraordinary measures not only to safeguard the continuity of the company but also to be able to quickly resume its activities and confirm its leadership position in the european market as soon as the crisis is over.”

“For the first time in our history we close a financial year with a yearly loss however, optimising capacity and reducing costs in a structural manner are now necessary actions to ensure the sustainability of the business in the long term.”

Lagorio also said, “We’ve continuously invested in the Italian market over the past years and in 2019 we carried about 20 million passengers to and from Italy.”

easyjet Airbus A320-214 taxing to the gate at Naples International Airport (NAP). Photo: Marco Macca – @aviator_ita

“However we now need to partially reduce our investments based on demand projections and focus on the most profitable routes and bases. It is a difficult decision, but necessary in order to protect the future of the airline in the Italian market over the long term.” 

“Despite the very challenging situation that the industry as a whole is facing, I want to strongly reaffirm U2’s commitment to our Country which is, and remains, one of the company’s main European markets and where we will continue to be one of the main operators, leader in national and international connections.”

“We will continue demanding the Italian Government for a firm intervention to protect the sector as a whole and to promote the recovery of air traffic.”

Lastly, Lagorio would like to thank the 1,500 U2’s Italian employees for the effort, passion and sacrifices demonstrated in these hard months and would like to ensure that all possible efforts will be made, together with the trade unions, to minimize the impact of this decision on the company’s occupational levels and to protect as many jobs as possible.

Featured image: easyJet Airbus A320-214 at Naples International Airport (NAP). Photo: Marco Macca – @aviator_ita