Ryanair Plans 300+ British Pilot Redundancies

Ryanair is planning to make 336 British pilots redundant, according to the British Airlines Pilots Association (BALPA). The…

Ryanair Plans 300+ British Pilot Redundancies

Ryanair is planning to make 336 British pilots redundant, according to the British Airlines Pilots Association (BALPA). The union is furious that the Irish airline is holding onto substantial cash reserves in addition to recently accepting $730 million in government funding.

Ryanair is to retrench over 300 British pilots. Photo: Tom Boon / Simple Flying.

Among the first jobs to go at Ryanair, but a lot more to follow

The pilot job cuts in Britain are part of broader job cuts at Ryanair. In early May, Ryanair said it would cut 3,000 pilot and cabin crew roles, close bases, and seek pay reductions of 20% across the remaining workforce.

The airline attributed this to the worldwide pandemic-fuelled crisis, distorted European state aid, and the grounding of all Ryanair flights until at least July. Ryanair does not expect traffic to return to 2019 levels for another two years.

Ryanair thinks it will be two years before travel gets back to 2019 levels. Photo: Tom Boon / Simple Flying.

But BALPA is unmoved. Its General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said in a statement yesterday;

“The company is sitting on EUR4.1bn cash including this latest funding via the Bank of England, and its balance sheet is, in its own words, ‘one of the strongest in the industry’ yet it still wants to make redundancies and impose pay cuts.”

Late last week, the airline took the ax to 250 jobs at its Dublin, Stansted, Madrid, and Wroclaw offices. The jobs were to go through a combination of redundancies, resignations, and the cessation of contracts and probationary periods.

Unions fight back, draw attention to state funding received

The unions are fighting back over the losses, not just at Ryanair but also at British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. British Airways is to make 12,000 workers redundant. Brian Strutton rightly says what’s happening to his members is “miserable news.”

What the unions also have their eye on is the amount of government assistance airlines like Ryanair are receiving while still moving to sack employees.

British Airways is to let 12,000 workers go. Photo: Tom Boon / Simple Flying.

“The hypocrisy of Ryanair taking £600m in support from the British Government which it previously said it did not want is hardly surprising and neither is their cavalier treatment of loyal staff,” said Mr Strutton yesterday.

On Monday, Ryanair announced a full-year profit to March 31 of $1.23 billion. Rightly, it isn’t expecting its results from this financial year to be so rosy, but it is sitting on cash reserves in excess of $5 billion.

Ryanair boss not happy despite large cash reserves

That hasn’t stopped Ryanair from maintaining a campaign against what it sees as unfair airport charges and inconsistent levels of state aid for airlines across Europe.

Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, blasted the giving of state aid to inefficient European airlines at the expense of airlines such as Ryanair.

“These are the crack cocaine junkies of the state-aid world because their first instinct is to always go to the government for state aid,” Mr O’Leary said in an interview.

Ryanair, easyjet, Peter Bellew
Michael O’Leary likened some state aid for airlines to crack cocaine. Photo: Getty Images

But Ryanair has recently received about $730 million from the Bank of England via the United Kingdom’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility.

It makes the latest announced redundancies at bit hard to swallow for Brian Strutton and his fellow unionists. Unite national officer for aviation Oliver Richardson said;

“Ryanair has significant cash reserves and is in a better place than many airlines to cope with the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created.”

That’s all unlikely to move Michael O’Leary and Ryanair. While they hope to have 40% of flights resuming in July, their prognosis for the remainder of the year is grim. The airline is moving to cut costs and conserve capital. Those 336 British pilots are among the first of a lot more Ryanair employees set to lose their jobs in the near future.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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The Airbus A220 – A Gamechanging Plane During The Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the failings of some plane types while shining a light on the advantages…

The Airbus A220 – A Gamechanging Plane During The Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the failings of some plane types while shining a light on the advantages of others. With passenger flights down 81%, the mass grounding of big, inefficient jets has been commonplace. However, for one plane type, more than half the worldwide fleet has remained operational, even through the worst of the crisis. This type is the Airbus A220.

The A220 has remained well-loved throughout the crisis. Photo: Air Canada

The A220 has shone during the crisis

The popularity of the Airbus A220 has shaken up the world of the narrowbody jet. Since acquiring and rebranding the Bombardier product in 2018, the orders for the type have continued to roll in. From Delta’s massive 95 plane order to Air Austral’s modest booking for three, it seems airlines are keen to make use of the small aircraft for a variety of short- to medium-haul routes.

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, there have been clear winners and losers. Big, lumbering quad-jets like the A380 were the first to be grounded, with many looking unlikely to ever return to passenger service again. The A220, on the other hand, has largely remained ungrounded; in fact, more than half was tracked by Cirium as still being in service last week.

Delta Air Lines A220
All 31 of Delta’s A220s have remained in service. Photo: Delta

A review of Delta’s fleet activity at the end of April by Forbes showed that every single one of its 31 A220-100s were still in use by the airline. The second-largest operator, SWISS, is planning to resume 140 weekly flights from Zurich and 40 from Geneva next month to destinations in Europe. You can bet that the first aircraft it brings back for these routes will be its 29 A220s.

And then, of course, we have airBaltic, which has taken the challenge of the pandemic as an opportunity to review its fleet strategy. Although it had always planned to become an all-A220 airline, the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the retirement of its Dash-8s and 737s, allowing it to resume operations with a leaner, greener, single fleet type.

airBaltic A220
airBaltic is coming back from the crisis an all-A220 airline. Photo: airBaltic

But why is the A220 doing so well, and what does this say about the pandemic and the future of air travel?

Why the A220 is doing so well

There are a few things to understand about the former Bombardier aircraft to get to grips with its incredible success. Firstly, it’s small and incredibly efficient. That means it can fly about as far as an A320, but with fewer passengers and lower fuel burn. It’s lighter than the A320 and has the most modern generation of engines, making it remarkably cost-effective to operated.

In these uncertain times, flying fewer passengers is a good thing. Being able to do it cheaply is even better. This is clearly demonstrated in the high number that have remained in service even through the worst of the crisis. Although SWISS didn’t operate many flights in May, of those it did, 83% were serviced by the A220, according to Cirium.

The spacious cabin makes the A220 popular with passengers too. Photo: airBaltic

The A220 is a clear win for passengers too. Wider seats, bigger windows, and reduced noise onboard all lead to a calmer, more reassuring environment. The large, modern bathrooms and airy cabins give a better sense of space, so while social distancing may not end up being practical, passengers may feel less ‘packed in’ on this gamechanging narrowbody jet.

What does the future hold?

Although the future of the aviation industry hangs in the balance, airlines are still confident on the position of the A220 in their fleets. Air Canada has accelerated the retirement of no less than 79 aircraft but still plans to take its full allocation of A220s this year. JetBlue, too remains committed to taking its first A220 in the second half of the year, and there’s no change to the Air France delivery dates either.

JetBlue A220
JetBlue will still take its first A220 in 2020. Photo: Airbus

While Airbus hasn’t had any more orders for the type since the start of the crisis, that’s a trend seen across all aircraft types. Airbus remains cautious, committing to sticking with its four aircraft a month production rate but delaying the ramp-up in output until the dust settles. Nevertheless, yesterday it opened its new A220 production facility in Alabama, signaling its confidence in the type and cementing its ability to boost production when the time is right.

Whether the coronavirus crisis turns out to be a catalyst for demand for the narrowbody remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is that those operating the type are finding it well suited to the currently turbulent situation.

Have you flown the A220? Do you rate it as a plane? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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