Britain’s biggest budget airline has once again limited the number of passengers that can be carried on its smallest plane.

EasyJet is removing the last row of seats from about half of its Airbus A319 aircraft to reduce queuing requirements. Currently, the airline is canceling about 70 flights a day because of a shortage of staff.

The 2016 Aviation Order states: “Must carry no less than one member of the crew for every 50 or a fraction of the 50 passenger seats installed on the aircraft.”

Plane A319 has 156 seats, needs 4 flight attendants. But by eliminating six seats, only three are needed.

All affected aircraft are based in the UK, where about 60 of the 126 fleets are located.

An easyJet spokesperson said: “This summer we will be operating the UK A319 fleet with up to 150 passengers on board and three crew in line with CAA regulations.

“This is an efficient way to operate our fleet while adding additional resilience and flexibility to our operations this summer, where we expect to return to flying level near 2019”.

The airline did something similar in the 2000s, albeit as a cost-cutting measure rather than a response to staff shortages. At that time, there was no obligation to remove the seat; instead, a large X was placed on the six seats and passengers were prohibited from sitting on them.

In the past, some airlines have removed rows of seats to increase legroom, by adjusting the distance of the remaining seats, but easyJet did not do so.

No impact on existing bookings is expected; The last seats on each flight are usually booked a few days before departure. But it will mean slightly fewer seats, with the possibility of a commensurate increase in ticket prices.

EasyJet says it expects to fly close to 2019 levels this summer. The larger Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, which carry between 180 and 235 passengers, are not affected.

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