Airline easyJet is ripping seats out of some of its planes so it can fly with less crew amid a staff shortage crisis.
Yesterday it emerged the budget carrier is removing the backrow – which includes six seats – on its fleet of Airbus A319 aircraft for the summer season.
It means these planes will be able to fly with three cabin crew rather than four as the number of seats will drop from 156 to 150.
Aviation safety rules stipulate that there must be a cabin crew member for every 50 physical seats installed on a plane.
It means flights will still meet Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations on the required number of crew.
It comes as easyJet continues to struggle with staff shortages, which it has blamed on workers being off sick with COVID.
The carrier has canceled hundreds of flights in recent weeks.
British Airways is also struggling with staff shortages and has canceled flights.
Both carriers are struggling to recruit fast enough to keep pace with the surge in passenger numbers.
One of the reasons aviation firms are finding it hard to recruit enough new crew is due to background checks taking longer than normal.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced the Government will allow airports and airlines to begin training staff without the checks being completed in a bid to alleviate the situation.
They must still pass the clearance before starting work.
An easyJet spokesman said: “This summer we will be operating our UK A319 fleet with a maximum of 150 passengers on board and three crew in line with CAA regulations.
“This is an effective way of operating our fleet while building additional resilience and flexibility into our operation this summer where we expect to be back to near 2019 levels of flying.
“EasyJet, which is Britain’s biggest budget airline, has 60 A319 aircraft flying in and out of the UK, meaning there will be 360 fewer seats this summer across the fleet.”
Julia Lo Bue-Said, of the Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s largest independent travel agent group, said it was a “travesty” easyJet was now in a situation where it was stripping out seats.
She added: “This only exacerbates the issue of meeting consumer demand to travel.”