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Easyjet has announced it will begin resuming flights on 15
June on a small number of services where it expects to see demand from
The airline, which grounded all of its aircraft in March as
the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Europe, said its initial schedule will
focus mainly on domestic flying in the UK and France. More routes will be
announced over the coming weeks as European countries begin lifting lockdown
measures and customer demand starts to recover.
In a statement to shareholders, Easyjet said: “We will
continue to refine our schedule planning and our capacity expectations for the
remainder of 2020, which will be confirmed in due course, whilst also
continuing our focus on minimising cash burn.”
The carrier is implementing a number of health measures,
such as requiring all passengers, cabin crew and ground staff to wear masks,
enhanced cleaning and disinfection of aircraft, making disinfectant wipes and
hand sanitiser available on board and temporarily removing food service from
flights. It said these measures have been decided in consultation with the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the European Union
Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
In addition, passengers will be encouraged to use the
Easyjet mobile app for paperless boarding passes.
CEO Johan Lundgren said: “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
John Vandesquille, travel & tourism analyst at GlobalData, commented: "Easyjet's plan to progressively resume its flight schedule, which echoes the announcement by Ryanair to start flying again in July, shows that airlines are trying to stay ahead of the curve and prepare themselves for the end of the crisis. It makes sense considering that a large number of countries, including major destinations such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, or France have already said they will be ready to welcome tourists this summer.
"However, a large number of travel restrictions are still in place across the continent, with little information regarding when they will be lifted. This puts airlines in a difficult position, as they cannot release their flight schedules and sell tickets for them without knowing when the borders will fully reopen.
"Furthermore, the burdensome health and safety measures that will need to be implemented are likely here to stay, and many airlines have already said they will probably have to raise their prices to offset the costs of these measures. All of these elements could potentially have an impact on demand, keeping airlines further in limbo."
Update 22 May: This article has been updated to include analysis by GlobalData's John Vandesquille.