easyJet is planning to cut jobs and remove aircraft from its base at Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), citing slower than expected recovery in traffic and high airport fees.
The low-cost carrier, which operates Airbus A320 family aircraft, said it planned to reduce the number of aircraft based in the German capital to 11 from 18 for the winter 2022. The reduction therefore puts 275 pilot and cabin crew jobs at risk.
“The expected demand for travel, high airport fees and our efforts to optimize our network as a consequence of the pandemic mean it is necessary to restructure our operations,” Stephan Erler, Country Manager Germany for easyJet, commented in a statement on May 24, 2022.
The company will hold talks with staff representatives over the proposals. easyJet said it will try to keep the job cuts to a minimum and offer staff jobs elsewhere within its network where possible.
easyJet said the proposals were part of its strategy to concentrate on profitable routes and the best possible network for its customers.
“We are confident that if we remove the seven aircraft from BER and use them at other bases across the network, they will be more profitable and generate significantly more revenue than if they remained in BER,” the airline said in a letter to staff that was seen by AeroTime.
easyJet was once the largest airline in Berlin, following its takeover of parts of collapsed carrier Air Berlin (AB1) in 2017. However, it has struggled to gain a foothold in the domestic market and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic announced cuts to its base in Berlin in 2020. At that time, it reduced the number of aircraft to 18 from 34 and said it would halve staff numbers to around 800.
Trade union Verdi criticized the latest decision.
“Coming right now as traffic is picking up, it’s incomprehensible. It’s going to alienate customers,” Verdi representative Holger Roessler told local paper Tagesspiegel. “The planes are full,” he added.