According to its own statements, the low-cost airline Easyjet will reduce its presence at Berlin-Brandenburg Airport by around a third. Before the pandemic, 34 aircraft were stationed in Tegel and Schönefeld, but in the future there will only be eleven at BER.
The Verdi union is naturally not happy with the downsizing of what has been the largest German Easyjet site. One speaks of a "slap in the face of the employees". Easyjet's decision is also problematic for Berlin-Brandenburg Airport, which is in deficit, because Easyjet has so far been the largest provider at this airport. There are currently 18 Airbus jets in use from BER. At the beginning of the 2022/23 winter timetable period, the number of aircraft will be reduced to eleven.
The consequence of this is that jobs are also being cut. It is currently assumed that around 275 full-time positions in the cockpit and cabin areas could be eliminated. Corresponding talks with the staff representatives are already underway. Easyjet grew strongly in the course of taking over former Air Berlin slots at Berlin-Tegel Airport. A double-digit number of aircraft had already been operated in Berlin-Schoenefeld beforehand. Secretly, the number of stationed machines was reduced from 34 to just 18. Due to the Corona pandemic, the creeping reduction was hardly noticed, because the carrier never again offered the full capacity that was available from the German capital before Corona.
Many routes, including Vienna and Stuttgart, have already been eliminated. From the last mentioned airport one has to follow the example of the competitor Ryanair Group withdrawn entirely. At Easyjet, it has been obvious for some time that they are concentrating more on their home market, the United Kingdom, and are reducing their presence on the German market, for example.
Similar to Ryanair, Easyjet justifies the reduction in presence with “excessively high and increasing airport fees”. Demand in Germany is also expected to recover, unlike in the United Kingdom, for example. It should be much slower and the number of bookings should be below comparable markets. However, this assertion cannot be verified, because competitors such as Lufthansa are recording completely different behavior on the part of consumers. It is possible that rather high taxes such as the air transport tax could have a negative impact on the pricing of low-cost airlines such as Easyjet, Ryanair or Wizz Air. The last-named carrier closed the only base it had in Germany in the fall of last year. Man dissatisfied with the results achieved with aircraft stationed in Dortmund.
Verdi union does not believe Easyjet arguments
However, Easyjet Europe does not want to know anything about a “withdrawal in installments”. Germany manager Stephan Erler emphasizes that the company has been operating from the German capital since 2004 and will continue to “offer the best selection of destinations”. However, the demand, which has remained below expectations and "high airport fees" have literally forced the low-cost airline to downsize its base at Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Erler believes that the forthcoming measures are inevitable. In the course of the talks with the staff representation, you want to get as many jobs as possible, according to the promise of the Easyjet Germany boss. The downsizing of BER's presence is said to have no impact on the hangar project. From the beginning of 2023, machines from the Easyjet Europe fleet will be serviced in the new maintenance center at Berlin-Brandenburg Airport.
The Verdi union is of the opinion that the arguments put forward by the orange airline should be put forward. The employee representatives point out that BER is not as expensive as the airline claims compared to other airports. Demand would also increase sharply again and Easyjet would also be on the road again from Berlin-Brandenburg with full aircraft. It is more about using the aircraft from other airports, for example from the UK. Easyjet could possibly make a higher profit there. People would not play a role in this, because staff from southern Europe would be paid less than in Germany. In any case, Verdi wants to resist the planned reduction of the Easyjet base at BER. In what form and whether it might be in the form of strikes is not yet clear.