Easyjet will sack up to 5,000 staff and close three bases

Easyjet will sack up to 4,500 staff and close its bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports as bosses blame lower demand

  • Luton-based carrier to close hubs at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports
  • Airline announced last month it was reducing its workforce by up to 30 per cent
  • British Airways cutting 12,000 staff, Virgin and Ryanair to let go of around 3,000

EasyJet has today revealed up to 5,000 staff will lose their jobs as it looks to close three of its bases across the UK. 

The budget carrier is proposing to close bases at London‘s Stansted and Southend airports and at Newcastle in north east England, union BALPA said in a statement.  

EasyJet is expected to lose between 4,500 and 5,000 jobs across its entire network including around 1,900 UK employees. 

Some 727 of its UK-based pilots are at risk of redundancy, equivalent to about one-third of its pilots in the country. 

The airline announced last month it was reducing its workforce by up to 30%, warning it needed to cut 4,500 jobs to stay competitive after coronavirus caused a travel market slump.

At the start of this month easyJet raised £419million of cash to help it see through the pandemic. It has also taken a £600million Government loan.

The beleaguered Luton-based carrier becomes the first domino to fall in the aviation industry, which has suffered massive losses in the wake of the pandemic. 

British Airways is cutting up to 12,000 staff, and Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair will each let go of around 3,000. 

EasyJet has today revealed up to 5,000 staff will lose their jobs as it closes three of its bases across the UK

EasyJet has today revealed up to 5,000 staff will lose their jobs as it closes three of its bases across the UK

How was easyJet doing before the lockdown? 

According to Feb 2020 flight schedules, easyJet operates more than 8,900 flights (one-way) a week, from more than 120 airports (mainly in Europe).

In terms of flights operated per week during the month of Feb 2020, easyJet’s top five airports are:

London Gatwick (LGW) – 850 flights

Geneva (GVA) – 522 flights

Berlin (TXL) – 396 flights

London Luton (LTN)– 372 flights

Amsterdam (AMS) – 353 flights.

Per week in Feb 2020, easyJet’s top five routes, in terms of scheduled seats available, are between:

London Gatwick (LGW) and Geneva (GVA)

London Gatwick (LGW) and Amsterdam (AMS)

Paris Orly (ORY) and Toulouse (TLS)

London Luton (LTN) and Amsterdam (AMS)

Paris Orly (ORY) and Nice (NCE).


EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said today: ‘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.

‘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.’

A spokesman for BALPA said it was ‘shocked’ by the scale of the job cuts and ‘excessive over-reaction.’ 

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton 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.

‘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 said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that the Haji-Ioannou family now hold under 30% of the company.

Stelios Haji-Ioannou founded easyJet, and along with family members remains its biggest shareholder, but he has been critical of its strategy. 

Earlier this year he sought to oust its CEO, chairman and others as he objected to their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week easyJet raised about 419 million pounds through a share placing to help bolster its finances.

‘As a result of the non-pre-emptive placing announced on 24 June 2020, the Haji-Ioannou concert party no longer holds 30% or more of the issued share capital of the company,’ easyJet said in a statement.

As such, easyJet said an agreement between it and easyGroup, Haji-Ioannou’s vehicle, drawn up under controlling shareholder rules, had been terminated.

A separate filing showed that the Haji-Ioannou family now owns 29.99% of easyJet down from the about 33% it used to own. That holding could fall further should the conditional element of the placing be approved by investors on 14 July.

This comes on the day easyJet was forced to scrap flights and holiday packages in Greece after the nation extended its ban on arrivals from the UK.

TUI, Ryanair, Easyjet, Jet2 and British Airways have all axed travel plans for Brits who booked in the hope of a quick getaway in early July, after the Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last night extended a UK flight ban due to end on July 1 to July 15. 

EasyJet had announced plans to resume flights from the UK to Greece next week with fares starting at £39.99.