EasyJet tackles staff shortages with seat tactic

EasyJet plans to remove a row of seats from its planes in a bid to cope with labour shortages.

By removing the last row on its A319 aircraft, it can cut the number of stewards needed for each flight from four to three.

Airlines are required by law to provide one member of cabin crew for every 50 seats, and removing a row would cut the number of passengers on board from 156 to 150.

Like many employers in the sector, the company has struggled to recruit airline staff to meet increased demand for flights since pandemic travel restrictions eased.

It was forced to cancel hundreds of flights over the Easter period due to high staff sickness.

In a statement, easyJet said: “This summer we will be operating our UK A319 fleet with a maximum of 150 passengers onboard and three crew in line with CAA regulations.

“This is an effective way of operating our fleet while building additional resilience and flexibility into our operation this summer where we expect to be back to near 2019 levels of flying.”

The airline was recently accused of “corporate bullying” after sending an email to staff warning that current absence levels were “not sustainable going forward” and hinting that action might be taken where absence was deemed too high.

EasyJet is incentivising new pilots to come on board, having relaunched its pilot training programme in January for the first time since the pandemic.

Faced with similar challenges, competitor British Airways has offered staff who join the airline and complete their training before July this year a £1,000 signing-on bonus – £500 after three months and another £500 after six months.

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