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easyJet reduces flights from Luton by 20%


The airline, based at the airport, has also announced that it is to close its base at East Midlands Airport.
It will move the capacity to more profitable airports and expects that most of the aircraft will be redeployed to continental European bases. A formal 90-day consultation between  easyJet and its crew at Luton and East Midlands has begun .
easyJet has blamed the recession, a 25% increase in airport costs at London Luton over the last three years and the rise in Airport Passenger Duty.
It has been in protracted negotiation with the airport’s owner Luton Borough Council and its Spanish-based operator Abertis. These talks, said an easyJet spokesman, had broken down, leaving easyJet no alternative but to reallocate parts of its flying programme.
easyJet chief executive Andy Harrison said: “We are one of only a few airlines expecting to make a profit this year. A critical part of our success has been optimising the allocation of our aircraft across our 19 European bases. This means responding to airports with uncompetitive costs, as well as moving swiftly to seize opportunities as competitors retreat.”
“I am deeply disappointed that Abertis and Luton Borough Council have not taken a more far-sighted approach which would have protected jobs at Luton. At a time when jobs are under threat in the town, the airport should be an engine for growing employment, not a source of further unemployment.
"This can only happen, however, if the owner and the operator make the right commercial decisions and deliver a competitive cost base.”
easyJet has based 16 aircraft at London Luton, flying 4.7 million passengers a year. It employs 530 pilots and cabin crew at the airport.
Currently there are no changes to easyJet operations at Luton. A spokesman said that passengers would be advised if their flights were affected.