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EasyJet pilots have avoided a mass cull despite the carnage in the aviation industry after the airline thrashed out new deals.

The budget airline is cutting 60 pilot jobs after accepting requests for voluntary redundancies in a consultation with 700 of its 2000 pilots.

Pilots have been asked their preferences after the closure of three key easyJet bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle, the home bases for 199 pilots. The pilots were offered options including alternative bases to fly from, as well as part-time and seasonal contracts. The airline has also committed to ensuring pilots’ training hours flights are kept up if they are not working through certain seasons to allay any fears over safety.

A communication from the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) to pilots, seen by the Standard, said: “After three days of solidly working through you preference selections with the company, we are pleased to be able to say that we are confident that, subject to every pilot confirming the preferences they have been allocated, it is likely that we can close this consultation process without seeing easyJet make any compulsory redundancies.”

Balpa said that, despite easyJet announcing this week it is cutting its winter capacity, the agreements “should make any requirements for further headcount cuts from easyJet unlikely in the near future”.

An easyJet spokeswoman said: “We have worked closely with the union to find alternative options for pilots who were at risk of redundancy.

“As a result we are pleased to confirm that we are close to concluding the pilot preferencing process and have been able to offer part time and seasonal contracts to most impacted pilots, base transfers where requested alongside accepting 60 requests for voluntary redundancy.

“We are hopeful that this means that when the process is completed there should be no need for any compulsory redundancies.”

The pilots will start on their new contracts in October or November.

EasyJet warned in May that it may need to cut up to 30% of its workforce – 4500 staff – after the pandemic caused a collapse in air travel.