Swiss low-cost airline EasyJet sacks 727 pilots

Budget airline easyJet is preparing to axe 4,500 staff and permanently close three major UK airport bases as part of a huge restructuring following the global coronavirus pandemic.

The company said hundreds of pilot roles are at risk – with formal consultations starting on Tuesday.

It comes a month after the low-cost carrier warned it may need to reduce staff numbers by up to 30%, to help “optimise its network and bases as a result of the crisis”.

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The travel giant is expected to lose up to 4,500 jobs across its entire network including around 1,900 UK employees.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO, said: “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.”

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Around 80% of easyJet’s UK pilots currently remain furloughed on the Coronavirus job retention scheme.

“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,” Lundgren continued.

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“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.”

The company said it has now informed all affected employees, with staff placed on consultation.

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