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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Wizz Air reduces EX-YU operations over crew shortage

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Due to a scarcity of available crew, Wizz Air is lowering frequencies on a number of its destinations in the former Yugoslavia until early to mid-October.

The airline will primarily reduce frequencies by one flight each week, leaving several routes with only one weekly rotation.

To solve the personnel deficit, the airline has launched an urgent recruitment campaign in Skopje, Belgrade, Sarajevo, and Tuzla.

It has also negotiated ACMI leases (aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance) to ensure an adequate number of crew members. A handful of aircraft are still available, with a number still to be returned to the fleet. Wizz Air flights have been operated by GetJet, Titan Airways, and HiFly.

Skopje, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Tuzla, Banja Luka, Split, Dubrovnik, and Ohrid services have all been disrupted. Flights from Skopje to Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Hanover, Nuremberg, Skavsta, Vaxjo, and Turku are being reduced in frequency. Basel, Heraklion, Larnaca, and Santorini are among the routes impacted by the crew shortage from Belgrade.

The airline is cutting frequencies from Sarajevo to Beauvais and canceling plans to introduce services to London Luton, but earlier this week confirmed the stationing of a second aircraft in the city beginning in mid-December. Furthermore, frequencies from Tuzla to Baden Baden, Memmingen, and Vienna have been reduced.

Services from Banja Luka to Eindhoven have been reduced, and flights from Ohrid to Vienna have also been reduced.

The airline’s frequency reductions have also had an impact on its operations along the Croatian coast, with frequencies from Split to Dortmund, Gdansk, Luton, Rome, and Vienna being reduced, while cutbacks from Dubrovnik include Vienna and Warsaw.

The coronavirus epidemic is to blame for the staff shortage. Last year, Wizz Air laid off a number of crew members at its facilities, including those in the former Yugoslavia. However, it also provided voluntary redundancies, which resulted in a substantially larger workforce uptake than the number of layoffs itself.

This is owing to the fact that Wizz Air’s crew pay are produced in great part by on-board sales and other performance-related responsibilities, which were low or non-existent for the majority of 2020 and part of 2021 due to Covid-19 and a considerably reduced duty schedule. As a result, crew members were left with only their basic compensation, causing many of them to hunt for work elsewhere.

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