EasyJet to operate just 10% of planned flights until end of March
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EasyJet has told its investors that it’s expecting to operate just 10% of its scheduled services until end of March.
The reduced flying schedule is a direct result of the ongoing restrictions on travel around Europe and the significant drop in demand for air travel, the airline said in a call with investors.
The announcement comes despite the airline reporting a surge in bookings for summer 2021 just last week. It detailed that summer bookings were up a staggering 250% on this time last year.
Despite the “pent-up demand” that it saw at the end of 2020, this year’s first-quarter revenues fell by 88% to £165 million. According to Sky News, 87% fewer passengers flew during the 2020 Christmas period compared with the same period in 2019.
Like many airlines across the industry, EasyJet has had to layoff more than 1,000 of its staff, as well as sell and leaseback half of its fleet of Airbus aircraft.
However, EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren remains positive about the future of the airline and spoke of the coronavirus vaccines as the saviour of the industry.
“We have taken the right actions to emerge leaner with a reduced cost base and the retrenchment of legacy carriers at key airports will provide additional opportunities for EasyJet,” Lundgren said. “The key to unlocking travel is going to be the vaccination programmes combined with governments progressively removing restrictions when it is safe to do so.”
In the U.K., a third nationwide lockdown was introduced on 4 January 2020. Since then, strict rules have meant that travel is only permitted for essential reasons, both domestically and internationally.
On Wednesday, the U.K. announced even tougher restrictions for travellers from a list of 30 high-risk countries, mandating a 10-day hotel quarantine. As it stands, the new hotel quarantine should not have a terribly negative impact on EasyJet, as the only country on the banned list to which the airline operates routes from the U.K. is Portugal.
Featured image by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy.
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