MIAMI – Irish low-cost airline Ryanair (FR) is set to cut twice as many jobs in Belgium as previously announced, according to the airline’s unions. The carrier will now slash upwards to 172 jobs – 66 Pilots and 106 Cabin Crew.
The airline announced at the beginning of July that it would have to sever 84 jobs from its aircrew based in Brussels and Charleroi. The breakdown was 40 Pilots and 44 Cabin Crew.
According to the airline, the extra job losses are due to the pandemic, and the lack of more bookings than previously expected. However, the extra job cuts in the midst of an ongoing restructuring process come as a sour surprise for the unions.
ACV union representative Hans Elsen has said, “We see the same scenario all over Europe. Ryanair is threatening layoffs in order to reduce wages and demand more flexibility,” according to a report by The Brussel Times.
Ups and Downs Make for More Cuts at Ryanair
Ryanair saw traffic decline to almost zero in Q2, with a loss of €185m. The carrier has overhauled its traffic outlook from 80 million passengers to 60 million for the year. The airline did recover in July, flying from next to nothing back to 40%, then in August to 60%.
Alas, bookings fell 20% for September and October, as the fluctuations in COVID-19 case numbers in certain countries heightened passenger fears.
What is interesting is that, according to industry analysts, FR has suffered less from the pandemic than other airlines. FR is not in the long-haul market and has no business class customers, who subsidize other airlines. In addition, according to The Brussel Times, FR can handle problems comparatively better, as it has a considerably lower debt load.
Hence, Elsen contends that the job cuts are “opportunistic.” FR employs some 500 people in Belgium, the majority at Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL). Out of the airline’s top 10 most profitable airports, South Charleroi comes at number two, banking the carrier €105.17m in the year up to March 2020.
Last week, the airline increased its capital with €400m, issuing 35.2 million new shares at €11.35, a discount of 2.6% on the latest closing price. In the same week, the carrier sold a US$1bn (EUR850m) bond. It was the first bond FR had sold in three years.
Featured image: Ryanair B737-800. Photo: Ryanair