AIRPORT bosses are planning talks to keep easyJet flying from Southend despite the airline’s decision to close its base.

Bosses at the airport say they look forward to discussions with the budget carrier about its future use of the airport.

Southend Council says it is also in discussions with the airport to continue helping the town’s economy.

The airline is looking to close its base at Southend Airport, along with bases at Stansted Airport and Newcastle, with up to 5,000 jobs lost nationwide.

But airport bosses believe they are in a prime position to work closely with easyJet moving forward.

A spokesman for the airport, said: “We note easyJet’s announcement about the potential consolidation of its operations as a result of the economic impact of Covid-19.

“London Southend Airport is uniquely positioned to respond to the requirements of safe, socially distanced travel as well as having a direct rail route from Central London.

“As such London Southend Airport continues to be a convenient and, as a result of the investment which is already under way, increasingly desirable airport for many passengers, particularly those based in London and the south east.

“We look forward to continuing our discussions with easyJet about their future use of London Southend airport.”

Kevin Robinson, Labour councillor responsible for business, culture and tourism in Southend, spoke of his sadness at the move.

He said the council was disappointed with the announcement from easyJet.

Mr Robinson said: “I feel for all those who have lost their jobs.

“The airline industry has been hit really hard by the coronavirus pandemic. It badly needs to find it’s feet again.

“I hope once flights abroad are in full swing again, easyJet can return to their base at Southend airport.

“There’s still that desire for the people of Southend to go abroad.

“You can tell from feedback from travel agents that people still want to go on holiday.

“It’s just really disappointing to see the base potentially going.

“We’re in constant discussions with the airport and our business partners, and that won’t change.”

Stobart Aviation Group, which owns the airport, was contacted over the move by easyJet to close its Southend base.