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Britain’s easyJet to axe up to 30% of its workforce By Reuters

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© Reuters. Airplanes at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy-en-France

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LONDON (Reuters) – British low cost airline easyJet (L:) said it planned to cut up to 30% of its staff, or 4,500 jobs, and shrink its fleet, to fit the smaller market it expects to emerge from the collapse in air travel due to COVID-19.

EasyJet, which employs over 15,000 people in eight countries across Europe, said it would launch a consultation process with its staff in the coming days, acting later than many of its airline peers to announce job cuts as a result of the pandemic.

The novel coronavirus has brought airlines across the world to their knees, grounding planes and forcing them to make tens of thousands of job cuts as they prepare for a travel market which will take three years to recover.

Ryanair (I:), EasyJet’s bigger low cost rival, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic (UL:) have over the last month announced 18,000 job cuts between them.

EasyJet over the last month has been grappling with an investor vote on management strategy as well as a cyber attack.

It said on Thursday that it was planning to fly around 30% of its capacity later this year, and that it expected to shrink its aircraft numbers to around 302 planes, about 51 aircraft lower than it had been planning for 2021 prior to COVID-19.

It said it was focused on taking out cost, and that discussions with lessors to raise new funds were ongoing. It guided that proceeds from those talks would now be in the range of 500 million pounds to 650 million pounds, slightly higher than guidance given in April.

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