By Bev Fearis, published 1/05/20
British Airways and Ryanair warned it could take several years for air travel demand to return to 2019 levels as both announced sweeping job cuts this week.
BA’s parent company IAG announced plans for up to 12,000 redundancies at BA on Tuesday. The airline’s management has also mooted plans to pull out of Gatwick completely after the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
Ryanair announced today that it plans to cut up to 3,000 jobs and close several European bases.
It said it now expects the recovery of passenger demand and pricing to 2019 levels will take at least two years, until summer 2022 at the earliest.
“When scheduled flights return in Europe, sometime in July, Ryanair believes it will take some time for passenger volumes to return,” it said in a trading update.
“Consumer confidence will be impacted by public health restrictions, such as temperature checks at airports and face coverings for passengers and staff on board aircraft.”
Unions reacted angrily to both announcements, calling on the UK Government to come up with a rescue package for the aviation sector.
Unite national officer for aviation Oliver Richardson said: “The statement by Ryanair, which follows hot on the heels of the British Airways announcement, further underlines why it is absolutely imperative that the UK works with all relevant stakeholders to provide long-term financial assistance for the aviation sector.
“If the government fails to provide such assistance, which is already being offered by other European countries to their airlines, then the UK aviation sector faces a very bleak future.”
Ryanair called on EU governments to cut passenger taxes, airport taxes, and departure taxes on an industry-wide basis, arguing it was a better alternative to selective State Aid ‘doping’ for flag carriers.
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary had his pay cut by half for April and May has now agreed to extend this for the remainder of the financial year to March 2021.