Protest at Newcastle Airport over easyJet proposal to close base

Campaigners are holding a demonstration at Newcastle Airport on Thursday against flight operator easyJet's proposals to close its regional base there.

Trade Union Unite claimed that easyJet confirmed on Wednesday that it intended to push ahead with the closure of its bases at Newcastle, Southend and Stansted.

The union said it was a "kick in the teeth to employees, passengers and regional airports."

Protesters outside Newcastle Airport on Wednesday morning Credit: ITV News

Johan Lindgren, 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.

“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.

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.

Johan Lindgren, easyJet CEO

In a statement, Newcastle Airport said it was “saddened” to hear about the possible loss of jobs in the North East.

They said customers could still buy easyJet flights from the airport.

Newcastle Airport said: “There is no doubt that the Covid-19 crisis is having a significant effect on the economy and jobs, and that our sector is being particularly badly hit.”

They continued: “Although the airline is proposing to cease basing crew and aircraft at Newcastle, easyJet flights from the Airport remain on sale and the Airport will continue to be part of easyJet's route network.”

ITV News has approached easyJet for comment on when these planned closures could come into force.