The recent collapse of UK regional airline Flybe left 277 employees out of a job. However, budget carriers EasyJet and Ryanair are offering hope to affected staff and encouraging them to apply for open positions.
EasyJet has 250 cabin crew vacancies and Ryanair has vacancies in all categories including pilots, engineers and ground crew.
Early on Saturday morning, worried Flybe employees called the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa).
Balpa’s general secretary, Martin Chalk, reassured staff that there were job opportunities and that the market was stronger than when Flybe first collapsed three years ago.
Airlines want to prevent a repeat of last year’s staff shortages that led to numerous flight cancellations and stranded passengers.
This makes it possible to support EasyJet and Ryanair’s requests for former Flybe employees to apply for open positions from their perspective.
In 2020, staffing shortages due to the Covid-19 pandemic caused thousands of flights to be canceled, causing great inconvenience and compensation claims for passengers.
Airlines are determined not to repeat such situations and are trying to fill vacancies as quickly as possible.
Affected are 75,000 passengers, as Flybe, a regional airline in the UK, has canceled all flights after declaring bankruptcy.
Passengers are finding alternative travel options while Flybe staff are being encouraged to apply for new positions with airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet. Ryanair is offering positions in all areas of the business, including flight crew, cabin crew, engineers, ground staff and office staff.
Per airline analyst John Strickland, most Flybe staff will have opportunities for new positions as airlines complete their recruitment for the summer.
“My expectation is that airlines haven’t completed all their recruitment for the summer, so there will be gaps and opportunities,” airline analyst John Strickland stated.
Despite the cancellations, Tim Jeans, board director at Cornwall Airport Newquay, says the impact of Flybe’s closure is not as severe as three years ago as virtually every one of their routes will be replaced this summer.
Board director at Cornwall Airport Newquay, Tim Jeans, said in an interview the BBC’s Today: “The good news is that because Flybe were so small virtually every one of their routes will be replaced certainly by this summer.
“It’s not nearly the impact it had when it went bust [for the first time] three years ago.”
EasyJet is looking to fill 250 vacancies for cabin crew and head office roles, with the possibility of a fast-tracked start for successful applicants.
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Flybe, the UK regional airline, first went into administration in March 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic which resulted in almost all flights being grounded.
The airline was later rescued by Thyme Opco, a firm linked to US hedge fund Cyrus Capital, and relaunched in early 2022 as a much smaller operator, with only five aircrafts compared to the 70 it had previously.
According to airline analyst John Strickland, the smaller size of the revived Flybe means fewer jobs are at stake this time around, making the situation more hopeful for the staff.
The current period is also optimistic for airlines, with a positive outlook on bookings as the world looks to put the Covid-19 pandemic substantially behind it.
“[And] it’s definitely a more hopeful time for the staff,” he stated. “The original Flybe company collapsed with around 70 aircrafts and we were just going into the industry-wide shock that Covid created.
“Contrast this with the revived Flybe, with only around five aircrafts, going into a period when we are looking to put Covid substantially behind us, a period when airlines are optimistic about bookings.”
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Where Ryanair and EasyJet Stands
Ryanair and EasyJet seem to be in a strong position to take on Flybe staff, according to airline analyst John Strickland.
Ryanair has already returned to profitability, despite the challenges of the last year, and CEO Micheal O’Leary has reported “no signs” of the current economic slowdown affecting the airline. EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren has also reported a bounce-back in sales and reduction in losses.
According to Strickland, Flybe was unable to take advantage of the return in travel demand due to competition, rising fuel prices, and a lack of a clear and defensible business strategy in the challenging regional flying segment.
Balpa’s Brian Chalk would like to work with the industry and government to create a more stable market, instead of the constant churn of companies hiring from each other.
Flybe first went into administration in March 2020, but was rescued by Thyme Opco and relaunched in early 2022 as a much smaller operator with only five aircrafts compared to the 70 it had before.
According to Strickland, the smaller size of the revived Flybe means fewer jobs are at stake this time around and the situation is more hopeful for the staff.
Ryanair has already returned to profitability and EasyJet has experienced a bounce-back in sales, reducing its losses, making both airlines well-positioned to take on Flybe staff.
However, Flybe was unable to take advantage of the return in travel demand due to competition, rising fuel prices, and a lack of a clear business strategy in the challenging regional flying segment.
Balpa’s Chalk would like to work with the industry and government to create a more stable market, instead of the constant churn of companies hiring from each other.