EasyJet boss says he'd feel '100% safe' on flights as airline resumes operations

15 June 2020, 07:49

Planes will be subject to special cleaning methods
Planes will be subject to special cleaning methods. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

EasyJet's chief executive would "feel 100 per cent safe" on a plane after the airline took special measures to ensure customer safety.

Monday marks a significant easing of coronavirus lockdown measures across England with non-essential shops reopening and some airlines restarting operations for the first time in 11 weeks.

Johan Lundgren the boss of the Luton based airline said they took advice from international regulators to ensure an enhanced safety and hygiene regime ahead of its resumption of flights on Monday.

All staff and passengers will be required to wear masks while aircraft will be regularly deep cleaned, with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser available.

Across England, all passengers on public transport will be required to wear face coverings from Monday, with extra police and staff on hand to ensure compliance.

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EasyJet's first UK flight since it grounded its aircraft on March 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic was from Gatwick to Glasgow, taking off at 7am.

Mr Lundgren said not operating a single flight in nearly three months has been "devastating", and the airline is "super-excited" to return to the skies.

He will travel on his first easyJet flight after the restart on Wednesday.

Asked if he would be anxious about his health if the plane is full, he replied: "I would feel 100 per cent safe.

"The recommendations that we've implemented have been defined together with international regulators Easa (European Aviation Safety Agency), ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and also our own company's medical doctors and expertise."

The Airbus A321neo - easyJet's largest aircraft - can seat 235 passengers.

Despite the 14-day quarantine policy and current travel restrictions imposed in the UK, Mr Lundgren said he believed summer holidays will be possible.

He went on: "We would hope and would be really looking forward to restrictions being either lifted, or air bridges put in place where it made sense to do so, allowing UK customers as well as people in the rest of Europe to be able to go on a holiday."

Air bridges would involve travellers arriving from countries where the risk of being infected by coronavirus is deemed to be low to avoid having to self-isolate for 14 days.

EasyJet's initial schedule involves mainly domestic flying in the UK and France.

The airline will ramp up its operations in the coming weeks.

It plans to reopen half of its 1,022 routes by the end of next month, increasing to 75% during August.

But flights will be at a lower frequency than normal, meaning the airline will operate at around 30% of its normal capacity between July and September.

EasyJet announced plans to cut up to 4,500 jobs as it does not expect demand to return to 2019 levels until 2023.

Ryanair intends to restore 40% of its flights from July 1, while British Airways is due to make a "meaningful return" to service next month.