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easyJet cuts UK bases

East Midlands and Luton airports affected

 

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easyJet cuts UK services

easyJet has announced plans to reduce services from Luton airport by 20% and to close its East Midlands base.

The popular low cost airline is blaming spiralling costs at the UK airports, including the controversial Airport Passenger Duty (APD), during tough times for all air carriers.

easyJet has opened a formal 90 day consultation with its crew at Luton and East Midlands as well as Belfast, Bristol, Newcastle and Stansted where 40 pilot and cabin crew jobs are also at risk. The company hopes to find alternative positions for as many of the affected employees as possible.

Andy Harrison, easyJet’s Chief Executive, said:

“easyJet is a pan-European airline, winning market share right across Europe, as demonstrated by another strong traffic performance in August. 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.

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“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.

“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.”

Flights from and to East Midlands airport are unaffected up to the end of 2009 and passengers need take no further action. For travellers flying from the airport from January 2010, easyJet will inform them well in advance of any changes to their flights.

easyJet operates on more than 400 routes in 27 countries with over 170 aircraft. Last year more than 44 million passengers flew with the no-frills airline.

Remember, if you're flying from Luton you can make great savings on airport parking with Holiday Extras.

Written by: Maxine Clarke, September 9, 2009

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