The Dutch airline KLM expects to cut its current 33,000 strong workforce by between 4,500 to 5,000 full-time roles within the next two months as it faces a road to recovery that is “long and fraught with uncertainty”. The airline today said it was in the “throes of a crisis of unprecedented magnitude” and despite a €3.4 billion government-backed bailout, more redundancies were urgently needed.
“A great deal has already been done in recent months with respect to adjusting the size of our company in the face of a new reality,” explained KLM chief executive, Pieter Elbers. “Unfortunately, more measures are needed in the short term to guarantee KLM’s continued existence in the future,” he continued.
“It is incredibly difficult and sad for KLM to now have to bid farewell to valuable, committed colleagues. Certainly in view of how much we have succeeded in achieving together in recent years. The forthcoming period will be devoted to saying goodbye to colleagues who have to leave with due care and to reconstructing KLM.”
The airline has already managed to reduce its headcount with a voluntary redundancy programme that has seen 2,000 employees sign up to leave the company early. In addition, 1,500 temporary contracts won’t be renewed and natural attrition will account for a further 500 roles disappearing.
But even with these voluntary measures, a further 1,500 jobs could be lost. One cabin crew union noted that it was a good result that the voluntary departure scheme had proved so successful that KLM currently expects an overage of 300 cabin crew roles. But even more job losses, the airline warned, do remain a possibility if the situation deteriorates over the coming months.
In July, KLM operated just 30 per cent of its originally planned schedule but both passenger numbers and revenue are “lagging far behind”. The airline painted a grim picture, saying its future looked increasingly uncertain as governments once again start to tighten travel restrictions that were only very recently loosened.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.