Budget airline Easyjet has grounded its entire fleet of 334 planes and will seek to reduce £4.5bn in spending. The operator blames government restrictions imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic coupled with the lockdown of several countries across Europe.
The airline, which has operated 650 rescue flights last Sunday and repatriated 45,000 customers, does not have a date yet when operations may resume. It said it will continue to work with governments to operate additional rescue flights if requested.
A recently released statement said:
As a result of the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of national lockdowns across many European countries, easyJet has, today, fully grounded its entire fleet of aircraft.
“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 March 29. We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.
“At this stage there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights. We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view.
On Friday, easyJet warned of long waiting hours for telephone enquiries after it closed two call centres.
The airline’s 4,000 UK cabin crew will be furloughed for two months starting April 1 and will be paid 80 per cnt of their average wage by the government. EasyJet employs 9,000 people in the United Kingdom. A spokesperson said it is in talks with the Britain’s pilots union “on the arrangements for pilots.”
Some easyJet and Virgin Atlantic staff are being asked to work as support staff at the new Nightingale Hospitals that are being set up at the ExCeL centre in Docklands, and elsewhere.