EASYJET has been criticised for pulling out of Stansted as the airport continues to see massive drops in passengers.

Airport passenger numbers doubled in June from May, but were still down by 97.8 per cent year on year.

The dreadful aviation figures have led to easyJet confirming it is pulling out of Stansted as a base, along with Southend, – a decision the Unite union has described as  “a kick in the teeth” for employees, passengers and regional airports.

EasyJet has seven aircraft based at Stansted, with 335 crew.

At Southend, there are 183 crew and four aircraft.

And there are three aircraft based in Newcastle, with 157 crew.

It has blamed the cuts on lower demand.

But Unite says that the airline’s decision will threaten the viability of the affected airports and is likely to lead to further job losses.

Unite says the long-term future of Southend is particularly unclear as the airport has already seen the closure of the Aer Lingus base, which was operated by Stobart Air.

Unite national officer for civil aviation, Oliver Richardson, said: “This is a kick in the teeth for easyJet employees, workers at the affected airports, their passengers and the communities these bases support.

“Unite has tried everything to persuade easyJet to reverse its decision to close the three bases and to consider other options but the company has remained adamant that they are financially unviable.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, easyJet’s priorities have been wrong. They have sought to pay shareholders dividends, secure a multi-million pound government loan to buy new aircraft, but not to use its cash reserves to defend its own employees’ jobs.

“The decision by the company is heartless and wrong-headed, but these closures demonstrate once again why it is absolutely critical that the Government comes forward with a bespoke package of support for the aviation sector which will protect jobs, airports and regional connectivity.

“A continuing failure by the Government to provide such assistance will inevitably result in thousands of entirely unnecessary job losses and a much-diminished UK aviation sector in a world where competitor countries are moving to protect theirs.”

Stansted saw 59,176 passengers in June – up from 20,607 in May.

But overall it means the airport saw 97.8 per cent fewer passengers than it did in June 2019.

Manchester Airports Group, which owns Stansted,  said at the end of last month that the Government’s new restrictions on travel to Spain was ill thought out.