UK markets close in 4 hours 45 minutes

EasyJet cuts 1,900 UK jobs and pulls out of Stansted, Southend and Newcastle

Alan Tovey
easyjet aircraft

EasyJet is to end ground operations at Stansted Airport and slash almost 2,000 UK jobs as the budget carrier battles against a collapse in air travel.

The FTSE 250 company is pushing the cuts through as part of plans to lay off nearly one in three of its 15,000 workers, following in the footsteps of rivals such as British Airways which is sacking up to 12,000 people.

The business posted a £353m loss for the six months to March and warned it would seek efficiency measures after coronvirus brought what had been a golden age of air travel to a crashing halt.

Bosses said on Tuesday that almost two fifths of roles expected to go – some 1,900 jobs – will be cut in the UK. This includes 727 pilots and accounts for almost one in three of easyJet’s flight crew, along with 1,2000 cabin staff.

The business is also shutting down ground bases in Stansted, Southend and Newcastle. It will still fly to the airports, but will not have any staff based there.

Other parts of easyJet’s UK operations are also under review. 

Markets HUB - easyjet PLC

The firm has started consultations with staff about who would lose their jobs.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive, 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.

"Unfortunately, the lower demand environment means we need fewer aircraft and have less opportunity for work for our people."

He added that the cuts are part of a focus on protecting the long-term health of the company so that more jobs are safe in future.

Airline job cuts to date

The airline has about 300 jets, half of them based in the UK.

Pilots union Balpa said it was shocked at the scale of the cuts to flight crew.

General secretary Brian Strutton said: “This seems an excessive over-reaction and easyJet won’t find a supply of pilots waiting to come back when the recovery takes place over the next two years.”

At last week's results the company said it was raising  up to £450m to shore up its balance sheet by issuing new shares, having taken a near-£160m hit from Covid travel restrictions.

In the six months to the end of March, passenger numbers at easyJet fell by 7.4pc to 38.6m. Howver, revenue rose 1.6pc to £2.4bn.

EasyJet has secured £1.7bn of funding to help it weather the pandemic, and expects to further bolster its reserves by up to £350m with sale and leaseback deals on aircraft.