EasyJet hints at closure of Dortmund hub

EasyJet could close its Dortmund hub, as crippling fuel prices make it more difficult to operate routes profitably.The low-cost carrier said it was conducting a 90-day consultation with its Dortmund crew. It already plans to cut Dortmund’s winter flight schedule in half.

EasyJet has complained about Dortmund’s “stringent operating hours”, which meant aircraft could not be used as effectively as it wanted, thereby hitting competitiveness.

“Despite EasyJet’s initial belief that the situation could be remedied and repeated attempts to extend the operating hours, this situation has not changed,’’ the carrier said in the statement. “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.”

EasyJet opened the Dortmund base in 2004 and now operates 11 routes from the terminal. Dublin-based Ryanair started a competing base at Dusseldorf-Weeze in 2007. The area that Dortmund serves also overlaps that of Cologne Bonn airport, where discount carrier Germanwings operates.