The British low-cost carrier easyJet will close its bases in London-Stansted, London-Southend, and Newcastle from September 2020. Several routes will be closed and as many as 670 jobs are on the line.
The network reduction was announced in July 2020, as easyJet is battling with the quarantine measures imposed by the United Kingdom. On August 17, 2020, the airline confirmed that the three bases London-Stansted (STN), London-Southend (SEN) and Newcastle (NCL) would be closed, effective from September 1, 2020.
Southend will completely disappear from the network, meaning that 21 routes will be slashed. Connections to four cities, namely Amsterdam, Belfast, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, will remain in Stansted, while from Newcastle, flights will serve Nice, Belfast, and Bristol.
“We understand the uncertainty this may cause our customers due to travel to and from these airports, and we would like to reassure customers we are contacting those whose flights are impacted with clear guidance on their options,” the airline said in a press release. Those options include rebooking, a voucher, or a refund. “We would like to apologize to customers for any inconvenience this may cause,” easyJet concludes.
As for the cabin crew, the company said an agreement with the trade union Unite had been reached before the closure. A voluntary redundancy scheme was chosen by 93% of the threatened staff, thus limiting involuntary layoffs.
The fate of pilots remains more nebulous. easyJet said it remains “committed” to the negotiations with the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) regarding voluntary redundancy and individual consultation process. But the trade union is not as candid.
“Talks had appeared to be going well and easyJet had just last week promised to consider BALPA’s suggestions, and further meetings were planned,” it denounces in a statement. “There was no warning that easyJet would take this step.”
A new meeting is planned for August 18, 2020.