EasyJet will operate just 10% of flights until virus travel curbs are eased
The low-cost carrier, which operates a string of domestic and international routes out of Scotland, said revenues plunged 88 per cent at the end of last year, with turnover slumping to £165 million. It flew just 18 per cent of its normal schedule in the three months to the end of December.
The Luton-headquartered group also confirmed that 1,400 UK jobs had been cut as it slashed its workforce by up to 30 per cent to reduce costs to weather the crisis.
But it said it is planning for a surge in “pent-up demand” for travel once restrictions begin to ease and as vaccinations are extended.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren told investors: “Our performance in the period was in line with management expectations, despite more stringent restrictions coming into place.
“We have taken the right actions to emerge leaner with a reduced cost base, and the retrenchment of legacy carriers at key airports will provide additional opportunities for EasyJet.
“Our core strengths remain unaffected by the pandemic. We have loyal customers who know and trust our brand, an unmatched network, offer value for money and a leading position on sustainability with high customer satisfaction.
“The key to unlocking travel is going to be the vaccination programmes combined with governments progressively removing restrictions when it is safe to.
“And, in the meantime, our flexible industry-leading policies mean that customers can make plans and book with confidence.”
Adam Vettese, an analyst at investment platform eToro, said: “2020 was exceptionally bleak for the airline industry and so far 2021 looks no different.
“The introduction of tough new travel restrictions means passenger numbers – already running at around a tenth of usual capacity – look set to remain low for some time.
“EasyJet has traditionally had one of the stronger balance sheets, but it too has had to slash costs and take on new debt to get through this crisis.
“Over the medium-to-long-term this radical cost-cutting could lead to bigger profits. However, EasyJet must not impair its ability to ramp up activity again once coronavirus has passed and demand for air travel recovers.”
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