Despite the outward appearance of growth with the recent announcement about the addition of Bombardier Global 6000s to its fleet, NetJets Europe is seeking further voluntary redundancies from its pilot workforce in response to prolonged softening in demand for fractional shares and jet cards, the company confirmed. It has begun a consultation process with flight crews, repeating an exercise that it embarked on three years ago at the height of the financial crisis.
“In 2009, due to the global economic environment, we launched a voluntary options program to manage excess crew levels at NetJets Europe due to a decrease in flight demand,” NetJets Europe told AIN. “Forecasts indicate that market growth will not resume to previous levels for a number of years. To align our crewing levels with customer demand, we have put forward a voluntary redundancy proposal to our pilots and are undergoing a consultation process. As this is an internal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”
The options offered to pilots in 2009 included long- and short-term leave of absence, job sharing, part-time work or voluntary redundancy. At the time, this approach achieved the company’s goal of reducing flight crew capacity by 60,000 pilot duty days per year. Back then, it employed 1,046 pilots, and 87 of these took voluntary redundancy with many more opting for job sharing. Sources close to NetJets’ flight crew have told AIN that NetJets Europe is seeking to reduce its payroll to around 650 pilots, an approximate one-third cut. However, the actual number of active pilots on the company’s roster following the 2009 consultation is 719, taking account of the various voluntary options exercised by crew.