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Budget carrier Easyjet has announced it will ground its
entire fleet of aircraft until further notice as the coronavirus outbreak
continues to impact the airline industry.
Easyjet, which mainly operates flights within Europe, said
it was necessary to make the decision because of the “unprecedented travel restrictions”
still in place globally to stop the spread of the virus.
The carrier had already cancelled most of its flights last
week, maintaining a handful of services to repatriate British citizens as the lockdowns
went into effect.
It said cabin crew would be furloughed and staff paid 80 per cent
of their wages from 1 April under the UK government’s job retention scheme.
The carrier is based at Luton airport and has a fleet of 331
aircraft. It normally serves around 159 airports and more than 1,000 routes.
Easyjet CEO Johan Lundgren commented: “I am extremely proud
of the way in which people across Easyjet have given their absolute best at
such a challenging time.”
Lundgren is just one of the airline bosses pressuring the UK
government to provide a financial support package for the entire aviation
industry despite chancellor Rishi Sunak saying he would only look at bailouts
on a case-by-case basis after carriers had exhausted all other options.
The news comes as the chief executive of Scottish carrier Loganair
told the BBC it was unlikely that airlines would survive without government
Jonathan Hinkles said it is “in the national interest” to
keep airlines afloat during the crisis, though he warned the recovery could be
slower in aviation than in other industries.
Loganair has had to ground around half of its fleet and
scale back its schedule, but Hinkles said the carrier has ‘no option’ but to
continue flying because it operates a number of essential services to remote
island airports in Scotland, some of which are subsidised by the Scottish
government and are needed to transport mail, goods and people.