EasyJet grounds its entire fleet, suspends operations due to coronavirus

Mar 30, 2020

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Following on the heels of fellow European low-cost carrier Ryanair, EasyJet announced on Monday that it would be grounding its fleet. On Monday, the carrier announced that it was parking all of its aircraft, declining to give a date for when operations might resume.

EasyJet said that it made the decision to ground the fleet because of the “unprecedented travel restrictions” that have been enacted by governments as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested”, the carrier said in a statement.

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Last week, EasyJet said that from 24 March, it would be grounding the majority of its fleet. Now, however, the carrier has chosen to park its entire fleet, opting only to operate necessary rescue flights.

According to Planespotters.net, EasyJet has 338 aircraft in its fleet — all narrow-body aircraft. The fleet is comprised mostly of A320 aircraft, followed closely by A319s. It also has some newer A321s in its fleet.

Previously, EasyJet served 159 airports on 1,051 routes. According to BBC, EasyJet has transported 45,000 people home on 650 rescue flights.

The airline said that cabin crew would be furloughed, and through the government’s job retention scheme, staff would be paid 80% of their wage from 1 April.

Though EasyJet is grounding its fleet of aircraft and furloughing a majority of its employees, CEO Johan Lundgren said that the airline was “well positioned to overcome the challenges of coronavirus”.

The decision to ground the entire fleet comes less than one week after fellow European low-cost carrier Ryanair made the decision to suspend all commercial operations.

Legacy carriers have been subject to the same difficult decisions as well. Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have made decisions to slash capacity across their route networks, opting to ground large numbers of their aircraft around the world.

Related: Where is British Airways parking its planes during the coronavirus outbreak?

Airlines across the U.K. have called on the government for additional measures to help protect them, however, no package has been revealed.

“We are willing to consider the situation of individual firms, so long as all other government schemes have been explored and all commercial options exhausted, including raising capital from existing investors”, a spokesperson for the Department of Transport said, according to the BBC.

Featured photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images.

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