DALLAS – easyJet (U2) wants to eliminate seats from several of its aircraft this summer to conduct flights with fewer cabin crews.
As with many major airlines, U2 is dealing with staffing shortages as it strives to restore pre-pandemic service levels. The airline claims that by removing the back row of chairs from its A319 aircraft, it will be able to fly with three cabin crew instead of four.
However, this would limit the number of passengers on board to a maximum of 150.
The BBC quotes U2 saying the measure was an effective way of operating the fleet while “building additional resilience and flexibility” into the airline’s operations.
Flights would still comply with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requirements regarding the required number of cabin crew, which is based on the number of physical seats rather than the number of passengers on board.
UK Aviation Staffing Shortages
Since Easter, airlines, and airports in the UK have been dealing with labor shortages as demand for travel has increased following the elimination of all remaining UK Covid travel restrictions.
Last month, U2 and British Airways (BA) were forced to cancel hundreds of summer flights as the virus spread, causing personnel to be absent and making it difficult to maintain full schedules. BA then announced it was looking to Spain for new staff recruits.
British Airways’ decision to severely curtail timetables from May to August affects journeys to/from some of the most popular vacation destinations, these being cut in half. During the busiest season, several flights to the US and the Far East will also be canceled due to stating shortages. BA anticipates resuming the canceled flights in September.
As for U2, it is employing, like many airlines, new cabin crew to replace those who were laid off as a result of the pandemic. However, experts believe that staffing issues may persist for up to a year.
EasyJet aims to fly at “around” 2019 levels this summer. During peak season, U2 carried about 300,000 passengers every day.
Featured image: easyJet G-EZDA Airbus A319. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways