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EasyJet denies closure of Stansted Airport base is confirmed

Budget airline easyJet has denied the closure of its base at Stansted Airport has been confirmed.

On Wednesday (August 5) union Unite claimed the decision had been finalised, but a spokesman for the carrier said: "The collective consultation process is still ongoing and no decisions on the proposals to close these bases have yet been made.

"We have made good progress with Unite on the collective consultation process, having reached an agreement in principle on redundancy terms and selection criteria in the event the proposals are confirmed and we move towards individual consultation with our cabin crew. We also continue to work constructively with BALPA (British Airline Pilots' Association)."

easyJet protest at Stansted Airport (39949137)
easyJet protest at Stansted Airport (39949137)

EasyJet's bases at Southend and Newcastle airports are also threatened with closure. Unite claimed the company was pushing forward with the closure all three bases, despite receiving a £600m loan from the Government.

Unite national officer for civil aviation Oliver Richardson said: "This is a kick in the teeth for easyJet employees, workers at the affected airports, their passengers and the communities these bases support.

"Unite has tried everything to persuade easyJet to reverse its decision to close the three bases and to consider other options, but the company has remained adamant that they are financially unviable.

easyJet protest at Stansted Airport (39959644)
easyJet protest at Stansted Airport (39959644)

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, easyJet's priorities have been wrong; they have sought to pay shareholders dividends, secure a multi-million-pound Government loan to buy new aircraft, but not to use its cash reserves to defend its own employees' jobs.

"The decision by the company is heartless and wrong-headed, but these closures demonstrate once again why it is absolutely critical that the Government comes forward with a bespoke package of support for the aviation sector which will protect jobs, airports and regional connectivity.

"A continuing failure by the Government to provide such assistance will inevitably result in thousands of entirely unnecessary job losses and a much-diminished UK aviation sector in a world where competitor countries are moving to protect theirs."

EasyJet had three employees and 335 cabin crew at Stansted before lockdown.

Although flights will continue, the carrier predicts passenger numbers will not bounce back to 2019 levels until 2023 and it is therefore cutting up to 5,000 jobs across its European operation.

Pre-coronavirus, easyJet accounted for 9% of all Stansted flights on 27 routes with up to 210 departures a week and 2.8 million passengers a year.

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