Ryanair has confirmed plans to fire “approximately” 900 of its current employees. The news comes days after the company reported a 21% plunge in profit. 

Ryanair is planning massive job cuts, the company has confirmed to AeroTime: “Ryanair expects approx. 900 current staff could be impacted”. The company’s spokesperson did not provide details on what roles, locations and airlines within the Ryanair Group will be affected, stating “we have nothing further to add”. 

Bloomberg has previously reported that “1,500 jobs are at risk”, but the Irish low-cost carrier has explicitly denied the claim, stating that the cuts would impact 900 people and “not 1,500 as falsely reported”.

On July 29, 2019, Ryanair announced a plunge in profitability by 21% down to €243million, due to falling ticket prices and rising fuel and staff costs. In particular, the company spent 24% more on fuel and 21% more on staff wages in the first quarter than at the same time the previous year. 

Ryanair also emphasised the negative effect Boeing 737 MAX groundings had brought. The airline was already forced to ground the five MAX in its fleet. In addition, it now expects to receive only half ‒ 30 out of 58 ‒ of planned deliveries in time for summer 2020 season. As Rynair’s MAX jets will have 4% more seats, but burn 16% less fuel, the delivery delays means that positive impact on ticket sales and fuel prices will have to wait.

Ryanair finances are under a huge strain due to a price war and other external costs, with the low-cost airline showcasing reduced profits compared to Q1 of FY19, even with rising revenues and passenger numbers.

It is now known that taking less aircraft also means that Ryanair will need approximately 600 less pilots and cabin crew for the summer season of 2020, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary explained in a leaked video for the company’s staff. 

The company not only will be hiring fewer people, but is also planning on firing some of its current staff. "On top of this bad news, we already have a surplus of over 500 pilots and some 400 cabin crew, because resignations have dried up to effectively zero since January,” O’Leary also explains in the leaked video.

The company will reportedly release more details of the foreboding firings by the end of August 2019. The staff terminations are likely to begin in September, October of 2019 and then “again after Christmas”. 

While the company does not specify exact bases that will be affected the most, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit hints towards bases in the UK and Ireland that are depended on passengers travelling between the two countries. 

This is in no way the first time Ryanair is expressing concern over Brexit and its possible effect on business. For instance, the low-cost carrier considered cancelling flights and moving at least some of the UK-based aircraft to continental Europe if there is no clarity on whether UK remains covered by the European Union (EU) Open Skies agreement back in July 2017.

As the possibility of a no-deal Brexit looms, the European Commission moves rapidly to protect airlines operating in the European Union from any damage caused by it.

Residents of Britain voted to leave the EU in a referendum on June 23, 2016. The country was first expected to officially part ways with the EU in March 2019, however, the deadline has since been postponed twice and is now set for October 31, 2019.