EasyJet cancels all flights and grounds all 330 airplanes until June

30.03.2020 at 11:24

Travel news

EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of aircraft due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline has said that it cannot give a date for when it will start flying planes again – but its staff are currently being given a two-month leave of absence, meaning the measures will last at least until June.

The Luton-based carrier said the measure “removes significant cost” as the aviation industry struggles to cope with a collapse in demand caused by the outbreak of the virus.

It insisted it “maintains a strong balance sheet” and revealed it is in “ongoing discussions with liquidity providers”.

The grounding of the flights comes just 10 days after a £174million payout to shareholders, with a third of the payout going to founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

The airline also announced it has reached an agreement with union Unite on furlough arrangements for its cabin crew.

The deal will be effective from Wednesday for a two-month period and means cabin crew will be paid 80 per cent of their average pay through the Government job retention scheme.

The airline said in a statement: “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.”

The Sun previously revealed easyJet’s pilots yesterday turned down the airline’s bid to tear up their contracts and adopt a ‘coronavirus cooperation agreement’.

The no-frills airline wanted crew and pilots to take three months unpaid leave as up to 3,000 staff face losing their jobs.

Foreign travel has plummeted across Europe as countries enforce travel bands to try and curb the spread of coronavirus.

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