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Thousands of easyJet staff are to lose their jobs under plans announced by the airline (Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Budget airline airline easyJet said it plans to cut up to 30 per cent of its staff and shrink its fleet, to fit the smaller market it expects to emerge from the collapse in air travel due to coronavirus.

EasyJet said it would launch a consultation process with its staff in the coming days, joining many of its airline peers in announcing job cuts.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "We realise that these are very difficult times and we are having to consider very difficult decisions which will impact our people, but we want to protect as many jobs as we can for the long-term.

"We remain focused on doing what is right for the company and its long-term health and success, following the swift action we have taken over the last three months to meet the challenges of the virus.

"Although we will restart flying on June 15, we expect demand to build slowly, only returning to 2019 levels in about three years' time.

"Against this backdrop, we are planning to reduce the size of our fleet and to optimise the network and our bases.

"As a result, we anticipate reducing staff numbers by up to 30 per cent across the business and we will continue to remove cost and non-critical expenditure at every level. We will be launching an employee consultation over the coming days.

"We want to ensure that we emerge from the pandemic an even more competitive business than before, so that easyJet can thrive in the future."

The move follows similar board decisions by other airlines such as British Airways and Ryanair.

British Airways is set to cut 1,130 pilot jobs as the airline continues to struggle at the hands of the global coronavirus crisis. More than 12,000 jobs are at risk, with cabin crew claiming they're being told to accept pay cuts to avoid redundancies.

Ryanair has also warned up to 3,000 jobs could be axed over the Government's handling of the pandemic.

The low-cost carrier said it is currently negotiating pay cuts, unpaid leave and redundancies with employees and trade unions, amid a sharp fall in numbers due to the widespread travel ban.

Meanwhile, Sir Richard Branson has offered to remortgage his Caribbean Island to help save Virgin Atlantic, after warning it will collapse without Government aid.

The billionaire, who is hoping for an estimated £500million taxpayer bailout, said there is "no cash in the bank" as he pledged to sacrifice his Necker Island home to save the stricken airline.

EasyJet has around 15,000 full-time employees, meaning a maximum of 4,500 jobs are at risk.

The low-cost airline's chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "We realise that these are very difficult times and we are having to consider very difficult decisions which will impact our people, but we want to protect as many jobs as we can for the long term.

"We remain focused on doing what is right for the company and its long-term health and success, following the swift action we have taken over the last three months to meet the challenges of the virus.

"Although we will restart flying on 15 June, we expect demand to build slowly, only returning to 2019 levels in about three years' time.

"Against this backdrop, we are planning to reduce the size of our fleet and to optimise the network and our bases."


Easyjet
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