Ryanair CEO Micheal O′Leary says job cuts are coming | News | DW | 31.07.2019
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Ryanair CEO Micheal O'Leary says job cuts are coming

The CEO of Europe's largest low-budget airline has said around 1,500 flight crew jobs are redundant. Sinking profits and reduced deliveries of Boeing's grounded 737 Max aircraft have hampered Ryanair's expansion plans.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary

Ryanair will be cutting jobs over the next year, as delivery delays on Boeing 737 Max aircraft and sinking profits have hit the budget airline's expansion plans.

In an internal video seen and verified by Bloomberg news on Wednesday, Ryanair's chief executive, Michael O'Leary, told the airline's employees that it currently employs 500 more pilots than needed, along with 400 too-many flight attendants.

O'Leary also said that 600 additional jobs that Ryanair had planned for next summer will no longer be needed, as the airline expects to have fewer aircraft.

Read more: Ryanair suffers first profit slump in 5 years

"We over the next couple of weeks will be doing our very best to minimize job losses, but some are unavoidable at this time," O'Leary said in the video, which was released internally to Ryanair employees on Monday.

O'Leary added that Ryanair would be cutting the number of airports that it flies to, and that these base cuts would be finalized in August. The job cuts at the Dublin-based airline would kick in around the end September and again after Christmas.

In its second-quarter earnings report released Monday, Ryanair announced a 21% drop in profits compared to the same quarter in 2018. O'Leary said in the video the profit loss was due to lower fares, higher fuel costs and higher staff costs due to pay increases.

Belgien Brüssel Ryanair Streik

Ryanair workers striking in Brussels in July 2018

Workers' rights

As a budget carrier, Ryanair has been criticized for lagging on workers' rights, with employees and unions demanding fair pay and working conditions. Several disputes in recent years with employee unions have resulted in strikes and disruptive cancellations. 

A spate of cancellations in late 2017 were followed by disputes with employees across Europe in 2018. Ryanair has previously refused to recognize workers' groups, but it has been forced to reach agreements with various trade unions in Europe. 

Read more: Easyjet, Thomas Cook and Ryanair — Brexit's effect on tourism's big names

In September 2018, Ryanair cabin crews in Germany, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, as well as pilots in Germany, served Ryanair notice of a 24-hour walkout over better pay and conditions.

In December 2018, Ryanair had to strike a deal with the German pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) over wages, benefits and working conditions, as well as Germany-based staff being covered by German labor law, and not Irish labor law. 

Reuters news agency reported Wednesday that Ryanair pilots in Britain and Ireland were considering industrial action after the job cuts were announced. Unnamed union officials said that O'Leary was trying to deter them from voting to carrying out a strike.

Take it to the Max

Ryanair's ills are also connected to Boeing's grounded 737 Max aircraft, which Ryanair is depending on as a new plane to cope with expanding passenger numbers and routes.

Regulators worldwide grounded Boeing's 737 Max planes in the wake of the March 2019 Ethiopian Airlines crash, which left 157 people dead. That accident followed a similar Lion Air jet crash in Indonesia last October that killed all 189 people on board. An anti-stall system on the aircraft is believed to be partly to blame for the accidents. 

Earlier in July, O'Leary said that Boeing told Ryanair that it expects the 737 Max jets to be back in the air by the end of September. 

Read more: Boeing's 737 Max grounded for longer after new flaw discovered

Ryanair said in its annual report released in March that it cut the number of 737 Max jets it expects to fly next summer from 58 down to 30 due to the delivery delays.

According to the report, the reduction is expected to hamper the airline's growth and reduce the number of passengers it can carry at least until 2021.

According to its annual report, the Ryanair group currently has over 16,000 employees.

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wmr/jm   (Reuters, dpa)

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