EasyJet grounds entire aircraft fleet following drop in demand
The airline EasyJet announced today that it is leaving its entire fleet of planes on the ground until further notice due to the collapse in demand, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a statement, the airline, based in London, explains that the measure “eliminates a significant cost”, and indicates that it will receive help from the government to support its workers.
EasyJet says it maintains “a solid balance sheet” and is “in conversation with liquidity providers” to guarantee its continuity once the crisis caused by the spread of the virus is overcome. The company explains that it has reached an agreement with the unions to apply the government’s job-maintenance program and pay 80% of the salary to the cabin crew as of Wednesday, for two months.
The airline adds that the decision to leave all its aircraft on the ground is due to “unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by the Government” and the “national confinement” decided by many countries to combat the recent pandemic. The spokesman also recalls that, in the last few days, the company has collaborated with the repatriation work and run “more than 650 rescue flights” to bring “more than 45,000 customers” home, which it will continue to do if the authorities so request.
EasyJet says that “at this moment, there is no certainty as to when commercial flights can resume” and says that it will assess the situation in terms of “regulation and demand”. Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair have already grounded most of their aircraft, as have the IAG group, which owns Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, Level and Vueling, has reducing its capacity by 75%.
Virgin Atlantic has already announced that it wants to use British government funds, although the conservative government maintains that a state bailout in the sector should be the last resort, and that companies should try to raise capital from other sources, such as its own shareholders.