Low-cost carrier easyJet has begun formal consultation on job cuts it announced in May, potentially reducing staff numbers by up to 30% as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The airline is also optimising its network and bases and potentially closing three of its bases at London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle. These airports would, however, remain part of easyJet’s route network, the airline notes.

    Consultation with trade bodies

    The airline, which is relaunching more flights from airports across Europe, including 14 airports across the UK on both domestic and international routes, has now started formal consultation on proposals with employee representatives on all of its UK-based pilots and crew. These representatives include the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) and trade union UNITE.

    EasyJet says it is fully committed to working closely with the company’s employee representatives during the consultations, minimising any job losses, and has informed all employees who may be directly affected by the proposals.

    Low market demand

    EasyJet has removed costs and non-critical expenditure from the business at every level to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The airline believes that the levels of market demand seen in 2019 are not likely to be reached again until 2023.

    EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren commented on the planned cuts: “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 – we are committed to working constructively with our employee representatives across the network with the aim of minimising job losses as far as possible.”

    The airline says it will continue to review its network and bases to ensure they are optimised in the current environment. It currently has 163 aircraft in the UK at 11 bases, serving 546 routes.

    “These proposals are no reflection on our people at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle, who have all worked tirelessly and have been fully committed to providing great service for our customers”, Lundgren continued.