British budget airline easyJet announced yesterday that it would be closing three of its UK bases, including London Southend Airport (SEN) in Essex. With this in mind, we thought we would take a look and see what kind of impact it would have on the airport and the region in general.
The move, prompted by the severe downturn in people traveling, will come as a shock to the local community. It is also a double whammy for the region with the Luton-based airline announcing that it was pulling out of nearby London Stansted Airport (STN) as well.
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Which airlines will still fly from Southend?
While it will have no impact on the Thames Estuary, easyJet said that it would also be pulling out of Newcastle International Airport (NCL). In total, it is predicted that the cuts the low-cost carrier is looking to make could cause the loss of 5,000 jobs nationwide.
After the collapse of Flybe back in March, Southend Airport lost ten routes. Following the demise of Flybe, it left just easyJet and Ryanair as the two major airlines at the airport.
With the departure of easyJet, Ryanair may look to increase its flights from the Stobart Group-owned facility. Hungarian LCC Wizz Air, who currently just flies to the Romanian capital Bucharest, may also consider taking advantage of easyJet pulling out.
Stobart hopes easyJet will still use Southend
Stobart has not given up hope that easyJet will not cancel all its routes from Southend airport, with bosses still in talks with the LCC. Once London’s third busiest airport in the 60s and 70s, Southend Airport believes that it is uniquely placed to offer safe, socially distanced travel.
When speaking about this to the local Echo newspaper, an airport spokesperson said,
“As such London Southend Airport continues to be a convenient and, as a result of the investment which is already underway, increasingly desirable airport for many passengers, particularly those based in London and the southeast.”
Labor councilor in charge of Southend’s business, culture, and tourism, Kevin Robinson spoke to the Echo of his sadness in seeing easyJet pull out saying,
“I feel for all those who have lost their jobs. The airline industry has been hit really hard by the coronavirus pandemic. It badly needs to find it’s feet again. I hope once flights abroad are in full swing again, easyJet can return to their base at Southend airport.
“There’s still that desire for the people of Southend to go abroad. You can tell from feedback from travel agents that people still want to go on holiday.
It’s just really disappointing to see the base potentially going. We’re in constant discussions with the airport and our business partners, and that won’t change.”
What do you think about easyJet’s decision to leave Southend Airport? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.