EasyJet have today become the latest airline to ground their entire fleet of planes in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, 10 days after it paid out £174 million to shareholders.
The airline has also said it is unable to give a date for when commercial flights will restart. Cabin crew have been furloughed and will be paid 80% of their wage from 1st April through the government’s job retention scheme.
COVID-19 has resulted in plummeting passenger numbers with many travellers either afraid to travel or having their travel plans disrupted by unprecedented global travel restrictions. This move follows Ryanair ceasing flights for the next two months and British Airways and Virgin Atlantic cutting schedules by up to 90%.
Due to the significant financial problems facing the aviation industry there have been calls by some, including Loganair boss Jonathan Hinkles, for a government bailout. In response, the British Chancellor has stated that the government is prepared to negotiate with aviation companies as a “last resort”.
EasyJet stress that they will not require a bailout. Rather, they suggest further actions will need to be taken in terms of cutting certain taxes and duties in order to reduce running costs for when normal service resumes.
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