EasyJet has announced that it will cut one in five of its flights from Luton Airport. Jobs will be put at risk as the airline cuts hundreds of flights in the UK and moves more of its planes to bases in Europe. This comes just after it announced that it will also leave its base at East Midlands Airport.
Andy Harrison, the chief executive of EasyJet, said that the company is moving to “more profitable” European hubs, and blamed Luton’s high airport fees for the decision.
On top of that, the Air Passenger Duty that the government plans to increase in November will also have a negative effect on the airline. In Europe, however, green taxes have been cut by governments in order to help airlines get through the recession.
Harrison said that “the rise in Air Passenger Duty hits regional airports hardest”, and it is partly this that has increased pressure on the airline to move operations to Europe.
EasyJet employs over 3,500 staff in the UK. Unite, the union that represents its workers, has expressed its concern about potential job losses. Kevin Hall, the regional officer, said that it is “extremely worrying” and that the flexible business model that EasyJet uses means there are “no excuses for compulsory redundancies”.
EasyJet was founded at Luton Airport back in 1995. EasyJet currently has 530 employees at the airport, but it is thought up to 100 jobs could be affected. It will make its changes in the new year, and until then flights will remain unaffected. It has suggested that it will probably shift its operational focus to Gatwick.