Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
EasyJet ready to 'ramp up' flights for summer holiday season from late May
14 April 2021, 10:52 | Updated: 14 April 2021, 11:27
EasyJet has said it is ready to "ramp up" services for the summer holiday season by offering more flights from late May as restrictions ease.
The budget airline said it expects to fly up to 20% of 2019 capacity levels between April and June, with most countries planning to resume flying at scale in May.
EasyJet flew just 14% of its 2019 flight programme between October and the end of March.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "We continue to closely monitor the situation across Europe and, with vaccination programmes accelerating, most countries are planning to resume flying at scale in May.
"We have the operational flexibility to rapidly increase flying and add destinations to match demand.
"EasyJet is ready to resume flying, prepared for the ramp-up and looking forward to being able to reunite people with their families or take them on leisure and business flights once again."
Brits are set to be allowed to travel abroad for foreign holidays from 17 May under the Government's roadmap to easing coronavirus restrictions.
But there are fears over a third wave across Europe and with vaccination programmes progressing more slowly in other countries globally.
However, asked if he expects destinations such as France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus and Turkey to be on the Government's "green" list, Mr Lundgren said: "I wouldn't see reason why you wouldn't have the majority of the countries of Europe in there.
"We really believe that, if you're in the 'green' category, there should not be any need of any testing at all because it would be considered low-risk.
"Now, if there is a PCR and a lateral flow test needed in there, by the time we get to the 17th of May, and the rollout of the vaccination programme that seems to be picking up everywhere we look around Europe, I would struggle to see - unless something happened between now and then - that there would be many countries who wouldn't be in that 'green' category."
He added that countries on the green list are of huge interest to customers, and urged the Government to "come out with this list as soon as possible because this is the main question for most of our customers right now".
Under the new traffic light system, people arriving in the UK from those countries will not be required to self-isolate.
People entering from an "amber" destination must quarantine for 10 days, while existing rules for arrivals from "red" locations will continue, including the mandatory stay in a quarantine hotel.
Everyone returning to or visiting the UK will be required to take at least one Covid-19 test prior to departure and after they arrive.
Mr Lundgren also reiterated calls for the Government to cut the price of tests for air passengers, having previously said they sometimes cost more than easyJet's tickets.
"EasyJet was founded to make travel accessible for all and so we continue to engage with Government to ensure that the cost of the required testing is driven down so that it doesn't risk turning back the clock and make travel too costly for some," Mr Lundgren said.
EasyJet confirmed it will slump to a steep loss of between £690 million and £730 million for the six months to 31 March, but said this is slightly better than expected thanks largely to stringent cost-cutting.