easyJet confirmed yesterday that it is to close its bases at London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle.
The news was initially announced in June but was subject to a legally required consultation process. This consultation has now concluded and the closure will go ahead as planned.
The closure date has been set for 31st August.
The closures do not mean the end of easyJet flights at Stansted and Newcastle. 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.
The closure DOES mean the end of all easyJet services from Southend, as the airport is not served from other easyJet hubs. The airline will retain eight bases across the UK.
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:
“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.”
“We would like to reassure customers due to fly from these airports that we are now contacting anyone whose flight is affected with clear advice on their options which include rerouting via alternative airports or receiving a full refund.”
In other easyJet news, the airline concluded its aircraft sale and leaseback programme last week.
It raised £608 million from selling 23 aircraft, all of which will be leased back until the aircraft are 10 years old. easyJet still owns 50% of its fleet outright giving it additional flexibility to raise funds if required.
The airline has raised £2.4 billion in total, from a mix of new loans, an existing but unused overdraft, the sale and leaseback programme, £419 million from shareholders and £600 million from the UK Government via a soft loan.