Easyjet has announced plans to close three of its hubs at UK airports, putting up to 5,000 jobs at risk.
The budget airline is closing hubs at Newcastle, Stansted and Southend airports, and admitted that the rest of its UK network is “under review”.
Why is Easyjet closing its hubs?
The news of the closures comes amid a difficult time for the travel industry, with Easyjet admitting it won’t reach expected revenue levels post lockdown until 2023. The lower demand for air travel as a result of the coronavirus outbreak has meant that the airline requires fewer aircraft, and there are less work opportunities for staff.
The airline has said that it will aim to minimise job losses as far as possible, but it is expected to cut between 4,500 and 5,000 jobs across its whole network. Around 1,900 of those affected will be UK employees, including 727 pilots.
Easyjet began formal consultation on its proposals to close its hubs on Tuesday 30 June, after announcing last month it would reduce its workforce by up to 30 per cent.
Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots union Balpa, said, "We know that aviation is in the midst of the Covid crisis and we had been expecting easyJet to make an announcement of temporary measures to help the airline through to recovery.
"But this seems an excessive overreaction and easyJet won't find a supply of pilots waiting to come back when the recovery takes place over the next two years."
Will Easyjet still fly from the three airports?
Easyjet has said it will still continue to fly to Newcastle, Stansted and Southend, even if its aircraft will no longer be based there.
The airline currently has 163 aircraft in the UK based at 11 airports, and it serves 546 flight routes, carrying more than 52 million passengers per year.
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."
Are any flights operating at the moment?
Easyjet resumed a limited number of domestic flights from 22 airports across the UK on 15 June, with its first flight since operations were stopped taking off from London Gatwick to Glasgow.
From 1 July, the airline plans to run around 500 flights per day across Europe, as well as more than 900 domestic flights per week to and from the UK. Tourists will be able to fly to a number of popular European holiday destinations from 14 UK airports, including Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester.
Easyjet has said it plans to fly around 50 per cent of its 1,022 routes from July, with operations to increase to around 75 per cent in August, although there will be a lower frequency of flights of around 30 per cent.
The airline will operate 36 routes in total in July, with Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal among the destinations available.
This will then increase to almost 60 routes in August to destinations across Easyjet’s European network, including Paris, Barcelona, the Balearics, Croatia, the Canary Islands and Berlin.