easyJet to close its bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle

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easyJet has announced today that it is to close its bases at London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle subject to a legally required consultation process.

It has also opened consultations over a 30% cut in staff numbers.  BALPA has said that 727 pilots will be made redundant.

The closures do not necessarily mean the end of easyJet flights at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle.  It is likely that the airline will fly there from other hubs, using crew based there.  It will mean the end of services to non-hub airports as well as redundancy for the cabin crew, pilots and maintenance staff based at the three airports.

easyJet to close its bases at Stansted, Southend and Bristol

Stansted and Newcastle have been in decline for some time

Stansted and Newcastle have both become substantially less important to easyJet over the last decade.  Many Stansted services have moved to London Gatwick as the airline secured more landing slots, whilst Newcastle seems to have proven less lucrative than alternative destinations.

According to anna.aero data, easyJet flew 34% fewer seats from Stansted in 2019 vs 2010, whilst at Newcastle the decline was 27% over the same period.

Southend has never really found its feet, despite huge investment in the airport by Stobart Group.  It is unclear what sort of future it may have – part of the strategy was for bankrupt Flybe, part owned by Stobart Group, to move an increasing number of flights there.

In a media statement, Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO, said:

“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.”

“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.”

In a separate announcement, it was announced that Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and his family had not taken part in the recent rights issue.  This has led to Sir Stelios seeing his shareholding drop beyond the key 30% level.  Under takeover rules, he cannot increase it back beyond 30% without making a full takeover offer.

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Comments

  1. Other sources are citing that this is a proposal but your headline makes it seem like a certainty.

    • It is a (virtual) certainty. The consultation is a legal requirement, however.

      • Other sources have now changed their headlines to match you’re tone so kudos for getting it right.

    • Lady Londonn says:

      “Consultation” is required by law but usually means anything but that. An employer has mostly made their decisions down to a fine level of detail before consultation even begins.

      For most people you should treat “consultation” as your final reminder to find another job. Practically, it gives the employee a longer notice period.

      If employees are represented, typically by a union, there’s a dance routine to follow on both sides where any variation in terms or better severance offer is explored (the possible range and flexibility of these offers, the employer already decided before consultation).

  2. Charlie says:

    Doesn’t mean end of services from non-hub airports. They could do A to B to C back to A. They already do quite a lot of this around Europe.

    • memesweeper says:

      True, but I think it will mean the end of many domestic services from STN and SEN.

  3. Aston100 says:

    Do you think in the future the travel industry might be encouraged to set aside some money in case of mass refunds, rather than using customer money as interest free loans?

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Do you think they use it as interest free loans or do you think they are using tomorrow’s money to cover today’s expenses. Eventually, that comes back to bite you very hard.

  4. flyforfun says:

    Is this likely to be the majority of flights at these airports? Is there a list anywhere of affected flights?

    • No list. It won’t happen for a few weeks at least anyway due to the consultation period.

      • When you say a few weeks, how long is usually allowed for consultation? I have a flight from bcn-ncl on 2nd August and just trying to work out how likely it is to be cancelled.

        • 45 days isn’t it? It was with BA and the cabin crew.

          • Fingers crossed!

          • ChrisBCN says:

            Katy, there is an easyJet hub at BCN, so if NCL does close, they may choose to operate it using BCN plane/crew, so it doesn’t mean your flight will be cancelled. The timings would change in at least one direction though (rather than NCL>BCN>NCL the plane would be going BCN>NCL>BCN).

        • Lady London says:

          IIRC it used to be 90 days if more than a certain number of jobs were disappearing + otherwise less. Got a feeling it will be in range 30-45.

          Individual’s notice period cannot run parallel with consultation period, it has to follow it. Companies can decide just to pay the notice period and not have the employee work their notice period – if their contract allows it. Employee can insist on working their notice period if contract does not say the employer can do this

  5. It does not necessarily mean the “end of flights to non-hub airports”. EasyJet has been using W patterns and ‘triangle’ ops to do this for years – no reason they can’t do the same here.

  6. Simon says:

    I hope Southend survives; so much investment over the past few years as you say; new train station, new terminal building.

    • Decent airport too – more pleasant experience than Stansted and not a lot further for me.

      • Lady London says:

        And a reasonable Holiday Inn Express right at the entrance to the airport.

        • Southend is a Holiday Inn (and quite a nice one), not an Express. Have stayed there.

  7. NCL (my local) has always been a struggle for easy. The bucket and spade routes tend to be ever-present, but everything else comes and goes. I would suspect more going than coming in the next few years.

    • Charlieface says:

      Indeed, the same happened after 2008, and it’s only just regained that level last year. Who knows what it will look like over the next few.
      I always thought their main issue is they don’t attract enough business flying and therefore hub flights. They only just last year got MUC, their only other big hubs are LHR, CDG and AMS.

  8. @mkcol says:

    Berlin too

  9. BA Gatwick flight has been cancelled, then moved to Heathrow with the same flight number and same times. I’ve automatically been rebooked on the new flight.
    So only the departing airport has changed from LGW to LHR. Do I have the right to a full refund if I choose not to fly?

  10. “This has led to Sir Stelios seeing his shareholding drop beyond the key 30% level”

    as well as meaning he can’t increase back over 30% without a formal takeover – presumably it also means that his threats against the board now have less weight ?

    • Definitely!

    • Lady London says:

      Got a feeling they will be looking to dump that shareholding sometime – but now is not the time.

      Could get interesting if there is consolidation in the airline business in about 5 years if it picks up again. I happen to think Sir Stelios was completely right about too many new aircraft.being ordered and that was before covid. I think they are a very well run airline and, if the industry picks up, Stelios’s shareholding may turn out to still be pivotal.

  11. Ann Lyall says:

    I live in France, my family in Essex, Nice – Stansted several times a year is perfect for us. Nice – Gatwick is not an option, M25 etc is a nightmare,neither is Ryanair or BA London City. I am over 80, the thought of seeing less of my family would be heartbreaking, as a last resort I guess would be to live in UK…………

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