EasyJet has confirmed plans to close three of its major airport hubs in September, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
Plans for the closures were first revealed in June and are now due to go ahead next month, as the company tries to cut costs.
Which bases are closing?
EasyJet is shutting its Stansted, Southend and Newcastle bases on September 1, affecting 670 of its employees.
The plans come following talks earlier in May, in which the budget airline said it was going to cut as much as 30 per cent of its workforce.
The airline has now complete a consultation with unions, two months after it warned the hubs were at risk of closure, and will begin talking to individual members of staff who will be affected.
EasyJet confirmed that by consulting with Unite, 93 per cent of the cabin crew who were at risk of compulsory redundancy chose an enhanced voluntary redundancy instead.
Staff have also been offered additional options, including part-time and seasonal contracts, base transfers and unpaid leave, which the airline said it expected to result in reducing the number of job losses overall.
Why are the bases closing?
The closure of EasyJet’s bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle come following a difficult year for the travel industry, which has been faced with significant restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the UK government has now lifted the blanket ban on travel to allow airlines to begin operations again, quarantine measures in the UK have contributed to a drop in customer demand.
Recent spikes in coronavirus cases in several popular holiday destinations, including Spain, France, Malta and The Netherlands, have seen the UK government reintroduce quarantine measures for a number of countries.
Customers who return from any of the affected destinations will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK.
EasyJet chief executive, Johan Lundgren, said: “We have had to take the very difficult decision to close three UK bases as a result of the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions, compounded by quarantine measures in the UK which is impacting demand for travel.”
What does it mean for passengers?
The closure of the bases will see outbound flights cut from both Stansted and Newcastle, but inbound flights will continue to operate.
All flights in and out of Southend will be permanently terminated.
EasyJet said that all customers who are affected by the closures will be informed how to get a refund, or to fly from another site.
The closure mean that Luton and Gatwick are now the nearest easyJet bases for Stansted customers, while Manchester and Liverpool are the closest for those who use Newcastle.
Mr Lundgren said: “We would like to reassure customers due to fly from these airports that we are now contacting anyone whose flight is affected with clear advice on their options, which include rerouting via alternative airports or receiving a full refund.”
Which holidays have been cancelled?
In response to the recent addition of France, Malta and The Netherlands to the government’s quarantine list, and the FCO advising against all but essential travel, easyJet has cancelled all of its package holidays to these destinations up to the end of August.
EasyJet said it will keep bookings beyond this date under review, but customers with package holidays booked in September can choose to cancel and receive credit on their online account for a future trip, without incurring any fees.
The airline has also cancelled its package holidays to Spain, Cyprus and Portugal, although flights are still running to some locations, including Barcelona, Palma, Lanzarote and Faro.