easyJet closes East Midland operations, budget travel squeezed further
easyJet may have enjoyed a healthy November with passenger bookings up over 12 per cent, but the news isn't all rosy. The budget airline has announced cuts that will shut down all operations at East Midlands Airport and reduce flights at London Luton Airport by a fifth. Thought you were a smart alec booking up your summer holidays before Christmas? Sorry about that.
Flights from East Midlands Airport will end on 5th January - passengers booked to travel after that date will be emailed in the next week and offered either a free transfer to another easyJet flight, a free transfer to a bmibaby flight, or a full refund. The 20 per cent reduction at Luton will mean an end to flights to Athens, Cagliari and Vienna, as well as reduced frequencies on several other routes.
A spokesperson said easyJet plans to move the capacity to more profitable airports, but soon even that option may be lost to the budget airlines - an independent climate committee set up by the Government is due to announce that budget air travel is unsustainable if the UK is to meet targets in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The plans allow for a third runway at Heathrow and second runways at Stansted and Edinburgh, but put a halt to regional airports expanding any further, including Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle and Bristol. Bah. The plans also call for huge carbon taxes to be heaped on passengers. Meh.
Interestingly, when asked for a statement, easyJet pointed out that by favouring the expansion of larger airports at the cost of regional bases, it meant a potential increase in the number of flight transfers, as passengers would have to travel to a larger hub before taking a second flight to their intended destination - hardly a foolproof method of reducing carbon emissions. There is another voice of reason, too - Sustainable Aviation, a group which is involved in representing the interests of both short and long-haul carriers - stated that "limiting emissions through technological improvements was the answer, not cutting people's right to travel". The reports seems to have considered such matters, yet still reccommends denying us our long weekends in Murcia. Damn their eyes.