EasyJet has confirmed it will close its base at London Stansted Airport from September 1, despite staff protests against the plans.
The airline is also shutting down bases in Southend and Newcastle, in a move that puts hundreds of jobs at risk. In-bound flights from Stansted and Newcastle will continue, but all flights departing and arriving in Southend will stop.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said the decision to close the three UK bases had been ‘difficult’ and was a direct result of the ‘unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions’.
He reassured customers due to fly from the three airports that they would be contacted with ‘clear advice on their options’ in the coming days. This would include the opportunity to reroute journeys via alternative airports or receive a refund, he added.
EasyJet put the bases on notice of closure in June and began a consultation period on jobs which has now come to a close. The company say they were able to reduce the amount of compulsory redundancies, as 93% of cabin crew opted for an ‘enhanced voluntary redundancy package’.
Discussing the outcome for staff, Mr Lundgren said: ‘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.’
Last week EasyJet staff protested outside Stansted Airport against the closure of the three bases. They demanded that Chancellor Rishi Sunak offer more support for the aviation industry due to the high number of staff likely to lose their jobs, including an estimated third of the airline’s pilots.
Holly Reid, the union rep for easyJet crew at Stansted, said at the protest: ‘Everyone has just been really upset about the news. We have some of the longest serving crew members in our team, some have worked for up to 20 years at Stansted so it’s really awful.
‘ lot of people are in relationships or married with other people in our easyJet team at the base so this closure is causing problems outside of work too.’
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