easyJet Announces 5,000 Layoffs & Stansted, Southend & Newcastle Hub Closures

face mask on flight

Traveller not challenged by easyJet air crew.

easyJet has announced around 5,000 layoffs Europe-wide and the closure of its hubs at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports.

AROUND 1,900 UK employees face the axe, including 727 pilots. The announcement was made this afternoon as easyJet boss admitted “that the rest of the UK’s network is under review.” The grim news comes just a few weeks after the low-cost airline warned it may need to reduce employees up to 30 per cent in a bid to “optimise its network and bases” as a result of the pandemic.

“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,” stated easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren. “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.”

The airline said it will still continue to operate flights to the airports, despite no longer operating as hubs at some airports. The pilot union Balpa’s General Secretary Brian Strutton said they had actually been “expecting easyJet to make an announcement of temporary measures to help the airline through to recovery.” But he described today’s announcement as “an excessive over-reaction,” pointing out that “easyJet won’t find a supply of pilots waiting to come back when the recovery takes place over the next two years.”

Nevertheless, easyJet boss Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is preparing to restart flights to Europe on July 1 and plans to serve at least 75 per cent of its network by August. The company said it will operate around 500 flights per day across its European network, and over 900 flights per week to and from the UK, once borders open from tomorrow.

Other airlines, such as BA, Virgin and Ryanair and are also struggling to bounce back from the pandemic. The aviation sector has warned that more redundancies in the airline industry are on the way, with potentially 124,000 jobs lost this year as a result.

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Pepi Sappal

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