British budget airline, EasyJet, is reportedly taking out seats from some of its smallest aircrafts to limit the number of passengers that can be onboarded in order to cut down on cabin crew amidst a shortage in the workforce.
As per reports, the airline will be taking out the seats in the last row of its Airbus A319 jets. Currently, it is grounding nearly 30 flights daily due to staff shortage.
According to the Air Navigation Order 2016, for every 50 passenger seats, or a fraction of 50 seats installed in the aircraft, there should be at least one cabin crew member onboard.
The A319 jets have a total of 156 seats, which means there should be four cabin crew on the plane. However, by removing the six seats in the 26th row, there would only be a requirement of three.
A spokesperson of easyJet stated that for the summer season, the budget airline will be operating its UK-based A319 fleet carrying a maximum of 150 passengers and three crew members, in compliance with CAA regulations.
The spokesperson added that it would be an effective way of operating easyJet’s fleet while it builds additional flexibility and resilience into its operations for summer, where it expects to come back its to pre-pandemic levels of flying.
This would not be the first time easyJet has made such a move. In the 2000s, as part of a cost-cutting measure, the airline had marked a large X on six seats where passengers were not allowed to sit, as there was no requirement for removing seats at the time.
A few airlines have taken out rows of seats in the past to offer more legroom by accordingly adjusting the spacing between remaining seats.
However, easyJet will not be doing that, it would just be removing the said seating row for now.
There will not be any impact on existing bookings as final seats on every flight are usually booked a few days prior to departure. But this will affect the availability of seats and will lead to a potential corresponding increase in ticket prices.