Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Easyjet looking at plans to close three of its bases and cut 5,000 staff
30 June 2020, 15:08
Easyjet has announced it is looking at plans to close its hubs at Stanstead, Southend and Newcastle airports, which could result in up to 5,000 job losses.
The budget airline also admitted today that the rest of its UK network is "currently under review."
The airline's fleet will continue to run to the airports, but could no longer operate from the hubs.
Pilots union BALPA said 727 cockpit crew are likely to lose their jobs if the move goes ahead. This is around one in three of Easyjet’s 2,300 pilots in the UK.
The news comes as the stalling aviation industry struggles to weather the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The budget airline has said it may need to axe 30 up to per cent of its workforce to survive the economic toll of the coronavirus crisis.
Easyjet has previously said that it won’t reach pre lockdown revenue levels until 2023.
Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO, said: “These are very difficult proposals to put forward in what is an unprecedented and difficult time for the airline and the industry as a whole.
"We are focused on doing what is right for the company and its long term health and success so we can protect jobs going forward.
“Unfortunately the lower demand environment means we need fewer aircraft and have less opportunity for work for our people."
“These proposals are no reflection on our people at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle, who have all worked tirelessly and have been fully committed to providing great service for our customers.”
Following the Easyjet announcement, Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, said: “This seems an excessive over-reaction and easyJet won’t find a supply of pilots waiting to come back when the recovery takes place over the next two years.
“EasyJet paid £174m out to shareholders, got agreements to furlough staff to protect cash, got £600m from the Government, has boasted of having £2.4bn in liquidity, and ticket sales are going through the roof so fast they cannot get pilots back off furlough quickly enough – so why the panic?
"It doesn’t add up. We are meeting easyJet today and we will be fighting to save every single job.
“This is more evidence that aviation in the U.K. is caught in a death spiral of despair and individual airlines are flailing around without direction.
“BALPA repeats its call for [the] Government to step in, provide a strategy and back a moratorium on job losses while all stakeholders sort out an holistic way forward for the whole aviation sector.”
It is the latest airline to fall casualty to the pandemic, with British Airways planning a major restructuring, which could mean up to 12,000 redundancies and changes to the terms and conditions of remaining staff.
German airline Lufthansa has also said it will cut 22,000 jobs as it struggles to deal with the slump in air travel, which has largely stopped as borders have slammed shut during countries’ lockdowns.
Easyjet currently bases 163 aircraft in the UK at 11 bases, serving 546 routes and flying more than 52 million passengers to and from the UK every year.
LBC News has approached Easyjet for comment.