CityJet plans to make 726 staff redundant

CityJet has outlined plans to make more than 700 of its staff redundant, accounting for up to 60% of its workforce. The job losses at the Irish owned airline will be a key part of reducing costs as the airline goes through the examinership process.

CityJet has eight Avro RJ85s jets. Photo by Jero Vida | AeroNewsX

Back in April, AeroNewsX reported that the Irish regional carrier was seeking court protection as it entered interim examinership. According to Senior Counsel for CityJet, Rossa Manning, the airline last made a profit in 2017 and had suffered significant losses in 2018 and 2019. At the time, the wet-lease carrier had debts of €500 million and had generated net revenues of more than €220 million over the last three years.

Now that the airline has been appointed experienced insolvency practitioner, Kieran Wallace from KPMG, the Dublin-based airline is now moving to reduce staffing costs and will start a consultation process across both its Ireland and UK operations. According to national papers in Ireland, the company is anticipating to let go as many as 276 staff from its Dublin and London bases.

The Irish airline exited scheduled passenger services in 2018. The carrier now operates a model known in the industry as wet-lease operations, providing serviced aircraft and flight crews for carriers such as SAS and Aer Lingus. The carrier has around 1,175 employees, with more than 410 based in Dublin.

The plan to cut staff in its London and Dublin bases will be part of a company-wide restructuring programme. In addition to the proposed 276 staff redundancies, with the majority being in Dublin, the company is also looking to make more than 450 staff redundant in other EU bases. These job losses will likely be at bases in Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, France and Brussels. According to the national paper, The Irish Times, the wet-lease airline plans to shed about 726 staff in total, with the airline expecting to maintain its operational headquarters in Dublin.

The interim examinership process which the airline sought from the Irish courts, involves a full review of the company to ensure it can remain well structured to be more sustainable in the long term. A spokesperson for the airline said that this will include examining the “current shape and size of the company, the current and potential business opportunities and the cost base and structures required to deliver a successful future.”

CEO and Founder of CityJet, Pat Byrne said: “CityJet has operated from Dublin for almost 27 years so this is a sad time for us as we must react to market conditions and enter into an enforced downsizing of our core infrastructure.” The Executive Chairman went on to outline that “CityJet is made up of hundreds of dedicated people with extraordinary skills and it is sincerely regrettable that we must prepare to lose the skills and services of so many of our loyal and excellent colleagues.”

CityJet remains confident that they can get through the examinership process successfully and have begun to engage with all the trade unions from the different countries, advising them of the airline's plans. Like many airlines, CityJet has been unable to operate flights for a number of weeks now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With many European airlines about to resume operations, the Irish government announced yesterday that they would be implementing a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for all arrivals, which could seriously affect all Irish carriers, including CityJet, who were aiming to partially recommence in the coming weeks.

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