Ryanair confirms winter withdrawal from Southend airport

Tbe owner of Southend airport has confirmed that Ryanair is to withdraw services from the autumn.

The no-frills carrier is to close its base at the Essex airport from November 1.

Ryanair has two aircraft based at Southend but schedules, load factors and yields have been affected significantly by the uncertain market in aviation resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The carrier has decided to redeploy the aircraft to its other bases to improve its own overall network efficiency from the start of the winter flying season following a review of its network.

Airport owner Esken insisted the impact on earnings “will be negligible in view of the expectation of limited flying in the winter season”.

Management will have time to “implement mitigating actions which will include cost savings and deferral of discretionary capital expenditure and attracting new carriers into LSA to operate the routes vacated by Ryanair”.

Esken said it remains focussed on targeting airlines for the recovery of flying in summer 2022 when demand is expected to show a post-pandemic recovery.

The group is in “active dialogue” with a range of low cost and flagship carriers “where the previously proven route profitability, the airport’s efficient operating cost base and the safe passenger experience is likely to prove attractive as demand recovers”.

David Shearer, executive chairman of Esken said: “The terms of the deal which had been entered into with Ryanair in 2018 were based on a significantly different set of market and economic parameters to the present day.

“We are therefore commercially agnostic to this decision and will look to build sustainable and profitable passenger growth for LSA [London Southend Airport] with a range of other carriers as demand recovers into a post pandemic world.

“LSA has a catchment area of circa 8 million people resident within one hour travelling time from the airport, a regular direct train connection to London Liverpool Street station, a cost efficient base of operation for airlines and an enhanced safe passenger experience for post Covid-19 travel.

“The fundamental commercial rationale for LSA remains strong and our partnership announced recently with Carlyle will allow us to capitalise on that opportunity as passenger demand recovers.”

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