Coronavirus: EasyJet grounds entire fleet

Easyjet coronavirus

EasyJet has today (30 March 2020) announced that it has grounded its entire fleet of 330-plus aircraft “as a result of the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic”.

The British low-cost carrier has reached an agreement with Unite the union on furlough arrangements for its cabin crew. The agreement, effective from 1 April 2020 for a period of two months, will mean that crew will be paid 80 per cent of their average pay through the Government job retention scheme.

EasyJet, whose largest base is London Gatwick and serves 159 airports and 1,051 routes, has 9,000 UK-based staff including 4,000 cabin crew.

In a statement, the company insisted that it maintains a strong balance sheet, with no debt re-financings due until 2022, and is in ongoing discussions with liquidity providers “who recognise our strength of balance sheet and business model”.

Commenting on the announcement, EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said:

“I am extremely proud of the way in which people across EasyJet have given their absolute best at such a challenging time, including so many crew who have volunteered to operate rescue flights to bring our customers home.

“We are working tirelessly to ensure that EasyJet continues to be well-positioned to overcome the challenges of coronavirus.”

Over the last few days, EasyJet has been helping to repatriate customers, operating more than 650 rescue flights to date and returning home more than 45,000 customers. The last of these rescue flights were operated on Sunday 29 March.

EasyJet will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.

At this stage, the company has said “there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights”, but will have to “continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand”.

EasyJet is one of several airlines that has been forced to ground its aircraft due to travel restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus outbreak, including Ryanair, which announced last week that it had grounded its entire fleet until June.

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