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Fuel impact: easyJet mulls closure of base at Dortmund news
14 June 2008

Soaring cost of fuel is forcing easyJet, one of the largest low-fare airlines in Europe, to  mull closure of its base at Dortmund, Germany. The second biggest operator at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (JLA), easyJet says it has begun a 90-day consultation with staff and crew based at the German airport.

The carrier has clarified that the review will not affect flights to, or from, Dortmund for the current summer season, which ends on 25 October, but will seek to rationalise operations during the winter schedule 2008/09 and beyond.

As for the coming winter season, easyJet has already said it plans to operate only 50 per cent of last year's schedule. The announcement of a staff consultation would now suggest that further cuts, or even complete closure, of operations from Dortmund may be on the cards.

In a statement, the carrier said: ''Despite easyJet's initial belief that the situation could be remedied and repeated attempts to extend the operating hours, this situation has not changed.'' This reflects on the fact that Dortmund enforces the most stringent operating hours, which ''significantly hampers aircraft utilisation, eroding easyJet's competitiveness in Dortmund.''

''As a result, Easyjet has just three aircraft based at Dortmund which, in the context of today's oil price, is insufficient to provide the economies of scale and crewing efficiency necessary to support a low-cost operation.

''Despite substantial marketing investment, it has not been possible to offset these cost disadvantages, which have been exacerbated by the recent increase in the price of oil.''

Easyjet opened the Dortmund base in 2004, and now operates 11 routes from the terminal.

Easyjet's statement added: ''With this consultation, Easyjet will explore with its employees different options to operate the flights from Dortmund airport, including serving the routes from other Easyjet bases.

''Throughout this consultation period, Easyjet will work in close collaboration with the people involved.''

Easyjet employs 116 people at Dortmund, and flew a million passengers from the airport last year.

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Fuel impact: easyJet mulls closure of base at Dortmund