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Published on Tuesday, June 30, 2020

EasyJet to close Stansted, Newcastle and Southend bases and axe more than 2000 UK jobs

EasyJet is to permanently close its bases at Stansted, Newcastle and Southend airports and shed around a third of its UK workforce.

Pilots' union BALPA confirmed today that 727 pilots - almost one in three of its UK flight crew - had been told their jobs were at risk and Unite said 1,290 cabin crew are being made redundant.

The airline announced in May that it was looking to axe around 4,500 jobs in total.

But BALPA said it was shocked at the size of the UK job losses.

BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton said: "We know that aviation is in the midst of the Covid crisis and we had been expecting easyJet to make an announcement of temporary measures to help the airline through to recovery.

"But 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."

He claimed that easyJet had paid £174 million in shareholder dividends in March, furloughed staff to protect cash, and received a £600 million government-backed loan.

"It has boasted of having £2.4 billion in liquidity, and tickets 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 will be meeting easyJet today and we will be fighting to save every single job."

He repeated calls for government to step in and back a moratorium on job losses.

"This is more evidence that aviation in the UK is caught in a death spiral of despair and individual airlines are flailing around without direction," he said.

EasyJet resumed flights in June, but mainly on domestic routes. From this week, it plans to build its schedule to around 500 flights a day on both domestic and international routes, but it will only operate around 30% of its normal capacity until September.

A spokesman said: "EasyJet has today started formal consultation on proposals with employee representatives including BALPA and UNITE on all of its UK based pilots and crew.

"The proposals include the potential closing of three of its bases in the UK - London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle. These airports would remain part of easyJet's route network.

"We have also informed all employees who may be directly affected by these proposals and will be providing full support to our people during this difficult time. We are fully committed to work closely with our employee representatives during these consultations with the aim of minimising job losses as far as possible."

A word from the CEO

"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," said Johan Lungren.

"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 - we are committed to working constructively with our employee representatives across the network with the aim of minimising job losses as far as possible.

"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."

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