EasyJet to close bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports

17 August 2020, 15:40

Easyjet aircraft parked at Southend airport
Easyjet aircraft parked at Southend airport. Picture: PA

By Megan White

EasyJet has confirmed plans to close its bases in Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports, with hundreds of jobs at risk.

The budget airline will shut the three bases, where they have 670 pilots and crew, as the company tries to slash costs.

The company said that it will push ahead with the plans that it revealed in June, as it started consulting with staff over the future.

In May, easyJet had said it was going to cut as much as 30 per cent of its workforce.

It has now completed a consultation with the unions and will start talking to individual members of staff.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "We have had to take the very difficult decision to close three UK bases as a result of the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions, compounded by quarantine measures in the UK which is impacting demand for travel.

Thousands of easyJet staff to lose jobs as airline cuts workforce by up to 30%

He added: "Working closely with our employee representatives, I am pleased that we have been able to identify ways to significantly reduce the number of proposed compulsory redundancies through providing enhanced voluntary redundancy packages for all UK crew alongside additional options like part-time and seasonal contracts, base transfers and unpaid leave which we expect to result in reducing the number of job losses overall.

"We would like to reassure customers due to fly from these airports that we are now contacting anyone whose flight is affected with clear advice on their options, which include rerouting via alternative airports or receiving a full refund.

"I know this is a very difficult time for our pilots and crew and I would like to thank them for their continued professionalism."

EasyJet said that by consulting with Unite, 93 per cent of the cabin crew who were at risk of compulsory redundancy chose an enhanced voluntary redundancy instead.

The airports will close from the beginning of next month, and customers who are affected will be told how to get a refund or to fly from another site.

A London Stansted Airport spokesperson, said: “London Stansted has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with easyJet, so we’re obviously disappointed to hear of job losses and our thoughts are with those affected.

“While this means that crew and aircraft will no longer be based at Stansted, the airline will continue to connect people to a wide range of popular destinations and we look forward to working with easyJet to grow its operation here again in the future.

“Current restrictions have blocked travel to the vast majority of the most popular destinations British travellers fly to each summer, and this move by easyJet is just the latest example of difficult decisions being taken by the aviation industry every day.

“We continue to urge the Government to adopt a more flexible, risk-based approach to international travel restrictions, as the holiday plans of millions of people – and the wider recovery of the travel and tourism sector – is being put at risk by the approach currently being adopted by the UK.”