British low-cost airline easyJet will pay cabin crew a £1,000 ‘recognition’ bonus if they don’t quit during the busy summer season. The bonus is believed to be an attempt to head off a potential staffing crisis that has already hit other carriers including British Airways.
A spokesperson for easyJet said the airline was hoping to reach near pre-pandemic levels of flying this summer but the aviation industry is struggling to recruit and retain staff to keep up with the surge in travel demand.
EasyJet currently believes it has enough staff to cope with forecast demand but only if it can stem the rate at which workers are handing in their resignations. The industry has changed since the onset of the pandemic and many airline workers are feeling like a change of career direction.
But once October arrives, easyJet will switch to its less frenetic winter schedule and plans to reduce its cabin crew staffing.
In a statement, easyJet said it plans to pay “cabin crew a recognition payment at the end of the summer season to recognise their contribution to the operation this summer, which is expected to be back at near 2019 levels for the first time since the pandemic”.
The bonus is similar to the £1,000 ‘golden handshake’ that British Airways is offering to job seekers who apply for certain in-demand job roles. BA has admitted that it is struggling to recruit ground service workers at its London base at Heathrow airport and has experienced bottlenecks in cabin crew recruitment.
Although there is plenty of interest in cabin crew roles, BA has focused its bonus scheme on candidates who have passed security vetting processes and already hold an airport pass that gives them the right to go into the secure ‘airside’ area.
British Airways says most of its recruitment woes are the result of referencing delays which aren’t its fault.
Last week, easyJet admitted that it was removing seats from some aircraft so that it can fly plans with fewer cabin crew. An entire row of six seats will be removed from some Airbus A319 aircraft so that they can operate with just three cabin crew.
Although Airbus certified the A319 to be operated with a minimum of only three cabin crew, EasyJet’s A319s are in a 156 seater configuration and European regulations require a member of cabin crew for every 50 seats or part thereof.
To get around the regulations, the seats have to be physically removed.
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.