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easyJet passenger convicted after biting police office at Gatwick

A man who bit a police officer after being arrested for shouting racial abuse on a plane has been convicted in court.

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Officers responded to reports of a disruptive passenger on the easyJet flight inbound from Faro to Gatwick Airport on 18 May.

Having been asked to sit down and put his seatbelt on as the aircraft prepared to land, the defendant became aggressive towards cabin crew. He also used a number of expletives, of which some were racially aggravated.

Police attended the aircraft as it came to a standstill and the defendant was identified as Kieran Croxley, 44, a labourer, of Howell Walk, Southwark, London.

The officers asked him to follow them, at which point he again became abusive and started swearing. As they attempted to arrest him, Croxley bit one officer’s hand and dug his nails into the arm of another, causing the skin to break. And while being transported into custody, he attempted to bite a third officer.

He was subsequently arrested and charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress; behaving in a threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards aircraft crew; and three counts of assault on an emergency worker.

At Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 26 September, Croxley pleaded guilty to all five offences.

He was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay a £900 fine, £450 costs and a total of £325 in compensation to the officers he assaulted.

Croxley was arrested as part of Project Disrupt – an annual campaign run by Sussex Police to combat drunken and disruptive behaviour.

You can find out more about the operation here.

Inspector James Biggs, of the Gatwick Prevention Team, said:

“This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable. No member of aircraft crew, nor their passengers, should have to experience such abuse. Nor should any emergency worker expect to be assaulted for simply carrying out their duties.

“This case should serve as a reminder to passengers of their responsibilities before they board an aircraft. Incidents of drunken and disruptive behaviour will not be tolerated, and anyone who compromises this will be dealt with robustly.”

Gatwick

727 easyJet pilots jobs at risk of redundancy as airline proposes closing bases at three UK airports

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BALPA, the trade union representing its UK-based pilots, says that easyJet has today informed them that 727 of their pilots are at risk of redundancy.

In addition, the airline is also proposing to completely close its bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports.

The potential job loss would see almost 1-in3 easyJet pilots lose their jobs in the UK.

 In November 2019 easyJet acquired Thomas Cook’s slots at Gatwick Airport (12 summer slot pairs and 8 winter slot pairs) and Bristol Airport (6 summer slot pairs and one winter slot pair) for £36 million.

Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, said:

“We know that aviation is in the midst of the COVID crisis and we had been expecting easyJet to make an announcement of temporary measures to help the airline through to recovery.

“But this seems an excessive over-reaction and easyJet won’t find a supply of pilots waiting to come back when the recovery takes place over the next two years. easyJet paid £174m out to shareholders, got agreements to furlough staff to protect cash, got £600m from the Government, has boasted of having £2.4bn in liquidity, and ticket sales are going through the roof so fast they cannot get pilots back off furlough quickly enough – so why the panic? It doesn’t add up. We are meeting easyJet today and we will be fighting to save every single job.

“This is more evidence that aviation in the U.K. is caught in a death spiral of despair and individual airlines are flailing around without direction. BALPA repeats its call for Government to step in, provide a strategy and back a moratorium on job losses while all stakeholders sort out an holistic way forward for the whole aviation sector.”

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