Cost savings

TUIfly wants to halve fleet and delay long-haul plans

Massive cost savings on the agenda: Oliver Lackmann, CEO of TUIfly.
Massive cost savings on the agenda: Oliver Lackmann, CEO of TUIfly.

TUIfly is heading for a dramatic downsizing under cost-saving plans to halve its fleet, drop various short-haul destinations and postpone plans to launch flights to the Caribbean.

The TUI Germany airline, which is due to take to the air again in mid-June with a streamlined flight schedule, is reportedly aiming to reduce its fleet from 39 planes to just 17 in future. This could apparently involve about 1,000 job losses, including 270 pilots and 430 cabin crew. TUIfly has some 2,000 staff, including 1,400 pilots and cabin crew.

Current market conditions and the need for massive cost savings mean the airline only requires about half its current fleet of 39 B737s, a TUIfly spokesman said. Cuts could involve closure of several smaller bases, including Cologne, Bremen and Münster-Osnabrück.

Concentration on top markets

Such a dramatic downsizing would inevitably mean the airline would be forced to scrap routes to short-haul destinations with lower passenger volumes and concentrate on its top markets instead.

In parallel, TUIfly has postponed plans to launch long-haul flights from Germany to the Caribbean this autumn. The airline had planned to take off with two B787 Dreamliners to Mexico and the Dominican Republic. But this business initiative makes no sense at present due to the corona pandemic, according to company sources.

Angry unions promise to fight for jobs

The TUIfly management has presented these downsizing proposals to staff and will now hold talks with unions about the planned measures. But union representatives have reacted angrily to news of the cuts and promised "tough negotiations".

"We will oppose the management plans to get rid of staff on a massive scale with all our means and will fight for every single job, regardless of where it is in the company," said an internal letter from an employee crisis committee that was signed by the company’s works council as well as the Verdi union and pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC).

The different staff representatives were "absolutely agreed" to oppose these "completely excessive and unjustified" job losses, they added. In particular, they criticised that TUI Group planned massive cost savings at TUIfly after it had received state support worth $1.8 billion.

Summer flights to four Mediterranean countries

At present, TUIfly is due to take off again on June 17 after a three-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will first operate flights from Düsseldorf and Frankfurt to Faro on the Portuguese Algarve coast, then resume flights from these two airports, Hanover and Stuttgart during June, followed by Munich, Hamburg, Cologne/Bonn, Basel, Paderborn and Nuremberg in July. 

TUIfly chief Oliver Lackmann said the airline would head for "the most popular beach destinations in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus" with a special flight schedule from July onwards.