EasyJet CEO says most EU countries will be on UK’s green list, will ‘ramp up’ operations in May

Apr 14, 2021

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EasyJet is expecting a busy summer of air travel, and it’s going to “ramp up” its operations in order to meet strong demand. From May, the airline expects to be transporting holidaymakers across the continent, despite concerns of a third wave of COVID-19 infections.

Beginning in May, the airline will resume flying at scale before ramping up from late May. For the months from April through June, EasyJet expects to operate about 20% of its 2019 capacity levels. By comparison, for the period from October through March, EasyJet operated at just 14% of its 2019 capacity.

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“We have the operational flexibility to rapidly increase flying and add destinations to match demand,” EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said in a statement.

EasyJet said it was encouraged by the strong vaccination programme in the U.K. and it “expects the European rollout to pick up pace in the coming weeks.”

In fact, the airline’s boss thinks that most of the EU will be classified as low-risk green countries in the U.K.’s planned traffic light system for a return to travel.

“By the time we get to 17 May and the rollout of the vaccination programme that seems to be picking up everywhere we look around Europe, I would struggle to see that there would be — unless something happened between now and then — that there would be many countries who wouldn’t be in that green category,” Lundgren told The Independent.

Related: Which countries could be on the UK’s green list?

The U.K. is still hoping to resume international travel from 17 May. The Global Travel Taskforce announced last week that when travel does resume, it will take the form of a traffic light system that will categorise destinations based on their risk level: green for low risk, amber for medium risk and red for high risk.

Notably, even the lowest-risk green countries will still require passengers to take at least two COVID-19 tests when attempting to enter England. Passengers will need to take one COVID-19 test prior to departure, which can be a lateral flow test, as well as a test after arriving in England, which must be a PCR test.

Related: UK PM Johnson outlines 17 May date for possible return to international travel

Lundgren, as well as other executives in the travel industry, have warned that by requiring so much testing, some people could find themselves priced out of travelling.

“EasyJet was founded to make travel accessible for all and so we continue to engage with government to ensure that the cost of the required testing is driven down so that it doesn’t risk turning back the clock and make travel too costly for some,” Lundgren said.

On Wednesday, the airline said that it expects to make a pre-tax loss of £690-£730 million in the six-month period through 31 March — a slightly better-than-expected result.

Featured photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

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