One of Europe’s largest budget airlines, EasyJet (EZJ.L), has announced that it would be grounding its entire fleet of planes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The group confirmed in a statement on Monday 30 March that due to “the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments” in response to stopping the spread of COVID-19, it will also be putting its cabin crew on a two-month leave of absence.
EasyJet also reiterated that it had worked with union Unite to “collaboratively” reach an agreement to furlough arrangements for its cabin crew. “As of 1 April 2020, the crew will be paid 80% of their average pay through the government job retention scheme while they are on two month leave of absence.”
It said that “over recent days easyJet has been helping to repatriate customers, having operated more than 650 rescue flights to date, returning home more than 45,000 customers. The last of these rescue flights were operated on Sunday 29 March. We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.”
It warned that it cannot confirm the date for restarting commercial flights. It also told investors that it maintains a “strong balance sheet, with no debt refinancings due until 2022.”
"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,” said Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet.
“We are working tirelessly to ensure that easyJet continues to be well positioned to overcome the challenges of coronavirus.”