EasyJet maintenance company shuts down at Stansted losing 345 jobs

22.2.2010 (Times)

SR Technics, the maintenance company that oversees the easyJet fleet, is to close
operations at Stansted airport, throwing 345 aviation engineers out of work.

The company, which is controlled by Mubadala Development, the investment arm
of the Abu Dhabi Government, has told workers that it is selling the lease at
the airport and moving the operation to its Zurich headquarters.

SR Technics is the largest maintenance, repair and overhaul operation at Stansted,
which handles more than 20 million passengers a year.

The decision to quit the airport came quickly after an agreement with easyJet
over a cost-cutting scheme.
As part of easyJet’s commitment to make cuts of £190 million a year across its
business by 2012, the budget airline, which last year reported a sharp drop in
profits, negotiated much tougher terms in an 11-year £1 billion agreement between
the two businesses. The carrier said that the new agreement will see easyJet cut
maintenance costs on the contract by £175 million over its life, or about £17
million a year.

In due course, all of easyJet’s aircraft maintenance across its 180-strong fleet
will be carried out at a new operation in Malta.

SR Technics will keep only a line maintenance operation at Stansted, performing
statutory pre-flight checks on aircraft.

SR Technics has been through troubled times over the past decade or so. It was
originally the engineering and maintenance arm of Swissair. After that airline
collapsed following the aviation industry slump caused by the September 11 attacks,
the SR Technics operation was rescued in a buyout led by 3i, the private equity

The Stansted maintenance workers were once part of the UK and Irish airline maintenance
operations of FLS Industries, which was sold to SR Technics in 2004.

SR Technics itself was then sold by 3i in 2006 to an Abu Dhabi-Dubai consortium.
Last year Mubadala bought out part of the Dubai-owned interests to take control
of the company.

A spokesman for SR Technics said that the closure of Stansted comes after it
shut its Dublin operations with the loss of 1,100 jobs. "It is not viable to have
two operations — Stansted and Zurich — just one and half hours’ flight time between
them," he said.

Chris Jones, regional officer of the Unite union, said: "The men are angry and
frustrated that their jobs are being exported abroad by an expanding company,
which refuses to even consider alternatives to job cuts."