easyJet to cut back on services

Budget airline easyJet is to close its East Midlands base and reduce services at Luton airport by 20 per cent, it announced today.

The low-fare carrier also said it would be consulting on a reduction of the number of flight crew at Belfast, Bristol, Newcastle and Stansted airports.



EasyJet blamed the cutbacks at Luton on "the airport's failure to recognise the commercial realities of the recession", while saying that its East Midlands airport operation had "remained stagnant for many years".







EasyJet said flights to and from East Midlands airport up to the end of the year are "wholly unaffected".

Passengers travelling to and from East Midlands beyond the end of this year would be informed well in advance if and how their travel might be affected.



The airline employs 120 staff and operates three aircraft at East Midlands, and carries around 700,000 passengers a year.



The consultation on crew numbers at Belfast, Bristol, Newcastle and Stansted affects about 40 pilot and cabin crew jobs.



EasyJet has 530 pilots and cabin crew at Luton where it operates 16 aircraft and carries 4.7 million passengers a year.















EasyJet said it had opened a formal 90-day consultation with its crews at Luton and East Midlands, adding that it was the airline's intention to redeploy as many staff as possible.

The carrier added that following the Luton and East Midlands' re-organisation it would move flights to "more profitable airports" with most of the aircraft being used at its continental bases.



The airline also said that its overall growth plans remained unchanged at around 7.5% per year "over the medium term".



The airline said airport costs at Luton had risen by 25% over the past three years which made the Bedfordshire base "no longer competitive".



The carrier had been in protracted negotiation with Abertis, the Spanish operator of Luton and its owner Luton Borough Council, but these negotiations had broken down.



EasyJet added that the situation at both airports had been exacerbated because of the rise in the Airport Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax.



EasyJet chief executive Andy Harrison said: "We are one of only a few airlines expecting to make a profit this year. A critical part of our success has been optimising the allocation of our aircraft across our 19 European bases. This means responding to airports with uncompetitive costs, as well as moving swiftly to seize opportunities as competitors retreat."



"I am deeply disappointed that Abertis and Luton Borough Council have not taken a more far-sighted approach which would have protected jobs at Luton.



"At a time when jobs are under threat in the town the airport should be an engine for growing employment, not a source of further unemployment. This can only happen, however, if the owner and the operator make the right commercial decisions and deliver a competitive cost base."



He went on: "In regard to East Midlands we cannot see a growing long-term future and we have decided to move our assets to markets with better long-term potential.



"The rise in APD hits regional airports hardest and increases the pressure to move aircraft to mainland Europe. The Government seems to think that APD is a free lunch. It isn't. It costs jobs in the UK."



EasyJet also announced today it carried 4.8 million passengers in August 2009 - an increase of 4.7% on August 2008.



The airline operates 175 aircraft on 437 routes to 111 airports in 28 countries. It has carried more than 44 million passengers in the last 12 months.







Kevin Hall, regional officer of Unite, which represents easyJet's cabin crew, said: "This is extremely worrying news for the staff working at the airline. EasyJet's business model makes it a flexible company so there are no excuses for compulsory redundancies if the company works constructively with Unite.

"Unite has meetings scheduled with easyJet and we will be doing everything possible to ensure the company maximises the opportunities for redeployment."

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders