Coronavirus causes easyJet to ground all flights

30 March 2020, 08:31

easyJet has grounded its entire fleet
easyJet has grounded its entire fleet. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

EasyJet has grounded its entire 344 plane fleet due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Luton-based airline said it completed its final rescue flight on Sunday and was about to place its staff on a two-month leave of absence because of coronavirus.

EasyJet said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange: “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.

Read more: Follow all the latest coronavirus updates LIVE

“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.”

EasyJet has also carried out 650 rescue flights, according to Sky News.

The company has worked with Unite the union to agree two-month furlough arrangements for cabin crew as part of the government job retention scheme - which will be effective from Wednesday.

EasyJet has seen the value of its shares dive by almost 60 per cent in the year.

The decision to ground its planes "removes significant cost" and the group "maintains a strong balance sheet, easyJet added.

Chief executive, Johan Lundgren, said: "I am extremely proud of the way in which people across easyJet have given their absolute best at such a challenging time, including so many crew who have volunteered to operate rescue flights to bring our customers home.

"We are working tirelessly to ensure that easyJet continues to be well-positioned to overcome the challenges of coronavirus."