EasyJet has announced that they will ground more than 300 planes amid the coronavirus pandemic due to ‘unprecedented travel restrictions’.
The budget airline revealed that as of today they have ‘fully grounded [their] entire fleet of aircraft’. EasyJet usually serves 159 airports and 1,051 routes, and has reportedly flown 650 rescue flights to return 45,000 people home since the Covid-19 outbreak.
In a statement, EasyJet said: ‘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 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 organised two-month furlough arrangements for staff to ensure that they will be paid 80% of their average pay as part of the government’s Job Retention Scheme.
According to the airline boss, Johan Lundgren, their last rescue flight operated on Sunday 29th March but they will continue to offer rescue flights ‘as requested’.
The travel industry continues to suffer massive blows as a result of the pandemic, with regional airline Loganair boss Jonathan Hinkles telling the BBC that any carrier claiming they could survive without help from the government ‘would probably be lying’.
So what happens if you have booked a flight with EasyJet?
They told the news site: ‘Customers on cancelled flights can transfer to an alternative flight free of charge or receive a voucher for the value of their booking online or claim a refund through our contact centre.
‘We are experiencing higher than average wait times so we would thank customers for their patience and assure them that these entitlements will be available long after their cancelled flight has flown.’