Ryanair to cut 3,000 jobs, ground 99 percent of flights

Ryanair to cut 3,000 jobs, ground 99 percent of flights
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Irish airline Ryanair is planning to cut 3,000 jobs and ground 99 percent of its flights due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said in a statement on Friday it could also close some of its bases throughout Europe until 2022, when it expects normal flight levels to resume.

CEO Michael O'Leary cut his own pay by 50 percent for April and May and recently extended cuts for the remainder of the year and into March 2021.

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Ryanair's cuts will affect all aspects of the company, but pilot and cabin crew jobs will suffer the biggest hit. Employees may receive pay cuts up to 20 percent, or unpaid leave in some cases, the statement added.

In a statement to the BBC, O'Leary said, "If a vaccine isn't found, then clearly we may have to announce more cuts and deeper cuts into the future," The Guardian reported.

The airline expects to incur a net loss of over $125 million for the first quarter and through the summer, with job losses and restructuring beginning in July.

The company estimates fewer than 100 million passengers will fly with Ryanair through March 2021, a 35 percent drop compared to its initial goal of 154 million.

Customers who requested refunds will receive them but they will be delayed due to an influx of requests, O'Leary said, adding that anyone who needed refunds for a May flight could have to wait up to four to six months.

"If you want a cash refund, you will get a cash refund," he said. "We will give you your money back. Nobody has to fight for a refund from Ryanair."

He said the airline would typically process around 10,000 claims per month, but the backlog for the company is nearly 25 million, comprising cancellations from March into May.