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EasyJet could cut three UK airport bases as job cuts loom

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EasyJet planes parked on the tarmac at Luton Airport
EasyJet planes parked on the tarmac at Luton Airport   -   Copyright  Jonathan Brady/PA via AP
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Nearly one in three of easyJet’s pilots in the UK could lose their jobs, as the budget carrier considers closing bases at three airports in the country.

The airline has been consulting with unions to discuss efforts to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated the travel industry as countries imposed travel restrictions.

Balpa, the pilots union, says 727 pilots’ jobs are at risk. The airline announced in May it would cut a third of its staff - 4,500 jobs in all.

EasyJet currently has 163 aircraft operating out of the UK at 11 bases serving 52 million people annually.

Across the channel, Air France has announced it could cut as many as 7,500 jobs over the next two years. According to sources at a union, 6,500 would be cut from Air France itself, and 1,000 from subsidiary HOP!

Airlines in turmoil

EasyJet isn’t alone in planning or announcing huge jobs cuts in the wake of the pandemic.

Some airlines have had to downsize despite being bailed out with government subsidies.

A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers last week claimed 60 per cent of the world's airline fleets was at the time still grounded, nearly 18,000 commercial airliners.

Also on Tuesday, the world's largest aircraft manufacturer Airbus said it was cutting 15,000 jobs -- an 11% reduction in its workforce worldwide -- as it faced “the gravest crisis this sector has ever experienced”.

Around 5,100 jobs will be cut in Germany, 5,000 in France, 1,700 in the United Kingdom, 900 in Spain and 1,300 at the group's other sites around the world.

Airbus cut its production rates by more than a third in April.