Belgian low-cost carrier City Bird is to axe a quarter of its workforce as part of a series of cost-cutting measures as it focuses on short-haul services.

The airline has been granted bankruptcy protection in Belgium and is cutting jobs before the court order expires in September. City Bird will exit the long-haul market and concentrate on short-haul charters in a bid to return to profitability.

The job cuts will mainly affect about 200 pilots and cabin crew flying on the carrier's Boeing 767-300ERs, with smaller-scale redundancies among the ground staff of City Bird's cargo division.

Last year the carrier suffered losses of c62 million ($55.5 million) and has struggled to recover from Sabena's return of two wet-leased Boeing MD-11s two years early. The breach of contract payments failed to cover the cost of returning the aircraft to Boeing.

Source: Flight International