EasyJet has started consultations on plans to close its bases at Stansted, Southend, and Newcastle as it remerges in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
The airline has announced that the recent loss of business means that it may need to cut staff numbers by around a third and its CEO, Johan Lundgren commented: “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.”
However, Brian Stratton, general secretary of the pilots’ union, BALPA, responded by saying: “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 continued: 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 Government to step in, provide a strategy and back a moratorium on job losses while all stakeholders sort out a holistic way forward for the whole aviation sector.”
The airline currently has eleven bases in the UK and says Stansted, Southend and Newcastle will remain part of its route network even if those three bases are closed.