easyJet to resume flights next month with strict rules in place

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Budget British airline easyJet has revealed plans to resume a small number of flights next month (June 15) with strict safety rules in place for passengers and employees.

Primarily, everyone on the flights would have to wear face masks.

Other measures include enhanced cleaning and disinfection of easyJet aircraft; availability of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser onboard; and no onboard food services.

A small number of flights will restart on routes where easyJet believe there is sufficient customer demand to support profitable flying. The initial schedule will comprise mainly domestic flying in the UK and France. Further routes will be announced over the coming weeks as customer demand increases and lockdown measures across Europe are relaxed.

The measures have been implemented in consultation with aviation authorities ICAO and EASA, and in line with government and medical advice.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO said: “I am really pleased that we will be returning to flying in the middle of June. These are small and carefully planned steps that we are taking to gradually resume operations.  We will continue to closely monitor the situation across Europe so that when more restrictions are lifted the schedule will continue to build over time to match demand, while also ensuring we are operating efficiently and on routes that our customers want.

“The safety and wellbeing of our customers remains our highest priority, which is why we are implementing a number of measures to enhance safety at each part of the journey, from disinfecting the aircraft to requiring customers and crew to wear masks. These measures will remain in place for as long as is needed to ensure customers and crew are able to fly safely as the world continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Shares were more than 2.5% up in early trading yesterday, following the announcement.


Industry reaction

Professor Loizos Heracleous, an aviation industry expert at Warwick Business School, said: “Airlines will face a number of challenges as they resume flights. For example, if governments require them to observe social distancing rules on planes, that would mean middle seats are left empty.

“This would reduce capacity and lead to an increase in ticket prices. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), prices would have to rise by 40-50 per cent, just for airlines to break even.

“The good news for airlines is that they will benefit from lower oil prices and research is already under way that may enable equipment to sniff out coronavirus before passengers board.

“Airlines have been forced to conserve cash to survive, cutting flights, reducing their workforce, and postponing capital investment. However, social habits including the urge to travel have not changed. Provided we find ways to control the virus, through testing, treatment or a vaccine, the industry should be back to pre-pandemic levels within two to three years.

“Aviation is too essential to wither. It is here to stay and the market system is resilient enough to ensure the industry thrives after this temporary setback.”

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