French easyJet pilots warn of risk of mass cancellations

The pilots are particularly concerned about the lack of staff, “mainly among the hostesses and stewards and a little among the captains”, indicates the president of the National Union of Line Pilots (SNPL) of the company, Arnaud Wiplier.

The letter, revealed by the British media Inews, was sent on Monday June 6 to warn the management which “gives the impression of not having grasped the extent of the problem”, according to Mr. Wiplier.

“If we can’t be resilient for a three-day weekend, can we be resilient during the summer? “, he asks.

The company is “less well prepared than in other years” and is forced to cancel flights in proportions “not seen for ten years”, worries Arnaud Wiplier. According to him, dozens of flights are canceled in France every week.

The disruptions already observed in certain European airports due to the lack of staff “will reach their peak this summer” and risk further complicating the task of easyJet teams, he assures.

The company has planned to recruit a hundred hostesses and stewards in France, according to the SNPL, but “it takes time to recruit and train these people”, says the union.

If easyJet “continues to operate up to 1,700 flights and carries 250,000 travelers every day”, the company acknowledges facing “difficult operating conditions which lead to the cancellation of a small part of [ses] flights”.

In a reaction to AFP, she assures us to maintain a constant dialogue with the unions and that she “will respond directly to the SNPL” on the questions raised in their letter.

Arnaud Wiplier also deplores the reduction due to Covid-19 of the teams responsible for planning and monitoring operations based at Luton airport, near London.

“If there is a sick person, there will only be one to check the legality of the next day’s schedules throughout Europe, so we have cancellations that are made late because we realizes too late that there is no more crew”, describes the union delegate.

The pilots suggest creating annexes to this operations center because “in Luton we find that they cannot manage the network”.

Finally, the pilots are concerned in their letter about the use of the subcontractor SmartLynx, a specialist in rental flights with crew very poorly rated by the ECA, the organization which represents European pilots.

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