The British airline EasyJet (EZJ.L) on Monday confirmed it would close three of its bases in the United Kingdom which will result to loss of up to 670 jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to tamper with the travel industry.
From September 1, the airline will pull out of London’s Stansted airport, coupled with closures at Newcastle and Southend.
The decision comes as the budget carrier battles to keep finances afloat in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown which grounded majority of its fleet in March. While flights will no longer depart from Newcastle or Stansted, inbound flights will still land.
EasyJet in May said that it would need to axe 4,500 jobs across Europe to prepare for a smaller travel market due to the pandemic, and is starting that contraction by closing bases at London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle airports.
However, all flights from Southend airport will be cut from September 1.
The airline has put out assurances it is sourcing alternative flights or offering refunds to those with flights booked at affected airports.
Following the announcement easyJet 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.”
“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.”
The outlook for airlines darkened last week after France joined Spain on Britain’s quarantine list, deterring travel to the two most popular destinations for Britons and dashing hopes for an August recovery.
In other news EasyJet’s bigger rival Ryanair (RYA.I) on Monday said, it would reduce its flight capacity by a further 20% during September and October after a reimposition of travel restrictions led to a notable weakness in forward bookings.
Up to 670 pilots and crew work at the three bases and many of those will lose their jobs. They will make up some of the 1,900 jobs in Britain that easyJet flagged in May would go as part of the 4,500 European total.
An easyJet spokeswoman said that it was likely that fewer than 1,900 jobs would actually be lost in the UK due to agreements on part time and seasonal contracts, base transfers and unpaid leave. There will also be less compulsory job cuts due to agreements on voluntary redundancy.