Irish low-cost operator Ryanair has told staff to expect job cuts in the coming months.
In a video – part of which has been seen by FlightGlobal and confirmed as genuine by the carrier – chief executive Michael O'Leary states that the airline already has "a surplus of over 500 pilots and some 400 cabin crew", which he says is a consequence of resignations falling "to effectively zero since January 2019".
That drop in staff leaving the business coincides with the budget airline's moves towards recognising unions.
He also notes in the video that delays to deliveries of Ryanair's first Boeing 737 Max aircraft will contribute to the overstaffing situation. During the airline’s earnings call on 29 July, he had already publicly warned of base closures as a result of the Max delays.
"The Max delivery delays mean that instead of taking 58 new aircraft for summer 2020, we will now, at best, get only 30 of those aircraft, which means we will need about 600 less pilots and cabin crew for summer 2020," O’Leary says in the video.
Ryanair had been due to receive its first 737 Max in April 2019, but Boeing suspended deliveries in March in the wake of the type's global grounding which followed the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
The job and base cuts could begin at the end of this year's summer season, O’Leary states.
The Ryanair chief also bemoans the impacts of Brexit – specifically warning that a no-deal Brexit could damage operations at its Irish and UK bases – and higher fuel and staffing costs.
On 29 July, Ryanair announced that its first-quarter net profit had fallen by over 20% to €243 million ($270 million), but that the company was maintaining its full-year profit estimate of €750-950 million.
While revenues were up 11% to €2.3 billion over the three-month period, the airline has suffered from weakness in the German and UK markets, and average fares were down by 6%.
Fuel costs rose by 24% over the quarter.