EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of aircraft due to the coronavirus pandemic, it announced this morning.
The British low-cost airline says the decision comes “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”.
“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 airline says.
It adds that 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,” the Luton-based carrier says.
It is uncertain when easyJet will be restarting its commercial flights, although British media are reporting that staff are being given a two-month leave of absence, meaning the measures will last at least until June.
Says the airline, “we will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view.”
It adds that the measure “removes significant cost” and that the airline “maintains a strong balance sheet” and is in “ongoing discussions with liquidity providers”.
“I am extremely proud of the way easyJet workers have given the best of themselves at such a challenging time, including so many flight crews who have volunteered so that our clients could return home. We continue to work tirelessly to ensure that easyJet continues to overcome all these challenges,” says the airline’s CEO Johan Lundgren.