easyjet PLC (LON:EZJ) is to close its bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports and sack 727 pilots as part of a restructuring scheme..
Pilots union BALPA said it was shocked at the size of potential job losses, which equates to nearly 1-in-3 of easyJet pilots in the UK, it said.
The airline warned a month ago that 30% of its 15,000 staff were at risk following the coronavirus lockdown that has seen its fleet grounded for most of the past three months.
A spokesperson for the airline said: "EasyJet has today started formal consultation on proposals with employee representatives including BALPA and UNITE on all of its UK based pilots and crew.
"The proposals include the potential closing of three of its bases in the UK – London Stansted, London Southend and Newcastle.
“These airports would remain part of easyJets route network.”
Last week, easyJet raised £419mln through a placing of shares to strengthen its financial position having forecast a £1bn cash outflow over the past three months due to the impact of the lockdowns.
The airline, which had already accessed a £600mln Bank of England loan, added that combined with the sale and leaseback of some planes, would give it cash of more than £3bn by the year-end.
easyJet was heavily criticised for paying a dividend of £174mln to shareholders in March.
Stelios shuns rights issue
Earlier in the day, easyJet said founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou's family concert party did not take part in last week's £419mln right issue, so he now controls only 29.9% of the air carrier.
Previously this month, the billionaire had trimmed his stake to 33.3% from 34%, cashing in £22mln.