Jet2 to make 102 pilots redundant, union says

Airline Jet2 is to make 102 pilots redundant after it rejected alternative proposals, according to a union.

In June, the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) union said the Leeds-based carrier was proposing cutting 102 pilot jobs after flights were grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Saturday, the union said Jet2 was pressing ahead with the cuts despite a range of alternative options put forward by BALPA.

Empty check-in lines at the Jet2 check in desk at Edinburgh Airport. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 14, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Image: The airline has been struggling along with the rest of the sector

A union spokesperson told Sky News these options included part-time working, part-year working, unpaid leave, sabbaticals and voluntary redundancies.

Several other airlines have announced job cuts after a collapse in demand caused by plummeting passenger numbers.

BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said the announcement “is yet another which shows the desperate state of the British aviation sector”.

“Despite enormous efforts to work with Jet2 to find ways of saving these jobs, the airline is insisting on 102 redundancies.

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“This will be a particular kick in the teeth as many of those who may lose their jobs have recently joined the airline after having been dismissed from Thomas Cook which went into administration last year.”

Mr Strutton called for government support for the industry, which has also been affected by new quarantine rules for passengers arriving from various countries which “keep throwing every restart plan into chaos”.

“If these quarantines are really needed, the government must stump up the support to help the airline industry, which is doing its best to get back on track but keeps being knocked back at every juncture,” Mr Strutton said.

The struggling aviation sector has looked to cut costs where possible in an attempt to survive the disruption stemmed by the virus outbreak.

It believes it will take years for passenger numbers and flight volumes to recover, with British Airways and easyJet among airlines announcing plans to cut thousands of staff accordingly.

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Airline RyanAir warned in May that it was being forced to slash 15% of its workforce, but the union Unite reached an agreement that would result in temporary pay cuts for UK crew in exchange for no job losses.

Early in the pandemic, Flybe – one of Britain’s largest airlines – went into administration after struggling to raise funds amid a steep fall in bookings.

Major airlines have since been flying planes to smaller airports to save on storage fees.

Shares in airlines easyJet, British Airways and Ryanair as well as the travel giant TUI were down on Friday as the government imposed its latest round of travel restrictions.

Jet2 has been contacted for comment.

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