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Routes may go as easyJet cuts staff and bases – and Condor axes 50 jobs

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THE future of easyJet’s services to Newcastle and Southend were thrown into doubt this week after the airline announced proposals to shut its bases at the two UK airports.

Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (28744416)

The company has said it may need to cut staff numbers by up to a third in response to the Covid-19 outbreak and has now launched consultations with employees.

Despite assurances from the airline that it will continue flying to the two airports, it is unclear whether services to Jersey will be maintained.

If the routes are axed they will join a small number of services to Jersey – operated by Jet2 and Loganair – which are no longer due to run this year.

A spokesman said: ‘As we have only just started this consultation and no decisions have yet been taken, the proposals are to close these bases at the end of August so customers booked to fly to or from these airports over the summer will not be affected as a result of this.

‘These airports remain important network points for us and we will still continue to serve them as destinations as part of our wider network.’

EasyJet normally operates six other routes to airports including Luton, Edinburgh, Manchester and Liverpool.

And the company is not the only casualty of the pandemic. Yesterday, in the States, Deputy Gregory Guida said that Condor was axing 50 jobs and Swissport – which operates aircraft, baggage and passenger handling services – was to cut 110 posts.

Condor said that none of the job losses would be in Jersey. A spokesperson said: ‘As an industry, we are experiencing a very challenging time with no passenger sailings, no income and paying out refunds since March, all of which are having an enormous impact on our business. Drastic cuts have had to be made throughout to reduce costs and protect the future of the company and this includes taking very difficult decisions in relation to staff on our high-speed vessels. Our policy is not to discuss employment matters with external parties or media and our utmost priority is supporting those colleagues affected.’

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Meanwhile, Jet2, which normally operates three flights a week between Jersey and Leeds-Bradford Airport, has confirmed that it will not run services to the Island this summer.

And it says that it will only operate flights to destinations which are not subject to self-isolation requirements.

‘Because of the ongoing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis, there is a reduction in the number of routes on sale and a lower frequency of services for summer 20.

‘We will not be operating flights and holidays to Jersey, Mykonos, Santorini, Kalamata, Halkidiki, Lesbos, Nice and Verona this summer, and there are some other reductions taking place across our nine UK bases. We are also in the process of making some changes to our schedules,’ a Jet2 spokesperson said.

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‘We will only take customers to destinations that are quarantine-free, so we are asking the [UK] government to provide urgent clarity over air bridges so that customers can plan their holidays.’

And regional airline, Loganair, said it had also cancelled its services to Jersey for this summer.

However, the company – which operates seasonal services to cities including Inverness and Aberdeen – says that it expects to restart services to the Channel Islands next year.

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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