easyJet is to cease operations at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle and will make 4,500 posts redundant across Europe.

The job losses will include 727 pilot jobs – equating to a third of the airline’s pilots – and 1,200 cabin crew posts within the UK.

The low-cost carrier started consultations with unions in the UK yesterday Tuesday after announcing last month that it would be making about 4,500 staff redundant across Europe. BALPA, the trade union representing easyJet’s UK-based pilots, said it was shocked at the size of potential job losses which equates to nearly 1-in-3 of easyJet pilots in the UK.

80 per cent of pilots furloughed

easyJet are in receipt of a £600m loan from the UK taxpayer under the Government Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF). Around 80 per cent of easyJet’s UK pilots currently remain furloughed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and, at the start of the crisis, easyJet’s pilots took pay cuts equivalent to up to 76 per cent of their normal monthly salary to assist the company’s cash position.

Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, 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.”

“Excessive over-reaction” – BALPA

“But 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. easyJet paid £174m out to shareholders, got agreements to furlough staff to protect cash, got £600m from the Government, has boasted of having £2.4bn in liquidity, and ticket sales are going through the roof so fast they cannot get pilots back off furlough quickly enough – so why the panic? It doesn’t add up. We are meeting easyJet today and we will be fighting to save every single job.”

“This is more evidence that aviation in the UK is caught in a death spiral of despair and individual airlines are flailing around without direction. BALPA repeats its call for Government to step in, provide a strategy and back a moratorium on job losses while all stakeholders sort out an holistic way forward for the whole aviation sector.”

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