easyJet grounds all planes due to coronavirus crisis


British airline easyJet has today announced that it has grounded its entire fleet of aircraft.

The company also stated that it cannot reveal when flights will begin again.

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 29 March. 

easyJet also announced that it will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.

A statement from the airline read: “We continue to take every action to remove cost and non-critical expenditure from the business at every level in order to help mitigate the impact from the coronavirus.  The grounding of aircraft removes significant cost.

“easyJet maintains a strong balance sheet, with no debt re-financings due until 2022.  We are in ongoing discussions with liquidity providers who recognise our strength of balance sheet and business model.

“easyJet and Unite the union have collaboratively reached an agreement on furlough arrangements for its cabin crew. The agreement will be effective from 1 April 2020 for a period of two months and means that crew will be paid 80% of their average pay through the Government job retention scheme.”

 Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO 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.” 

Industry comment

Nigel Frith, a senior market analyst at asktraders

As a number of airlines are abruptly coming to a halt, the aviation industry are facing a big fight against this pandemic. With easyJet announcing that they have now grounded all fleet due to restrictions on current movement and low demands, every day is bringing more bouts of bad news for the industry.

With worries that there has not been given a date to start commercial flying again, the airline has definitely done their part with rescue flights and crew being sent to help the NHS with the virus. This is no longer smaller players being affected anymore, with the collapse with Flybe in March, it’s no doubt we are going to be seeing some of the big names within the industry go with them.

The big question is, which airlines will survive the pandemic and which ones won’t?