A British low-cost carrier EasyJet bets on a strong summer season of 2021 and expects to see its capacity levels rise from May 2021. But until then, the budget airline plans to fly only 20% of its pre-pandemic schedule.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Johan Lundgren revealed that the biggest budget player in the UK was burning £4 million per day during the winter season.
However, after the UK government lifts the international flight ban from May 17, 2021, the airline might get a chance to catch a wave of upcoming demand return for international travel. “We have the operational flexibility to rapidly increase flying and add destinations to match demand,” Lundgren was quoted by the local media on April 15, 2021. Currently, the UK has banned international leisure operations from the country.
In March 2021, the CEO also expressed expectations that the majority of European countries would be added to the UK‘s „green list“, meaning that passengers would not be required to quarantine on arrival in the UK. However, this means that passengers would need to take PCR tests before departure and after returning home.
Because of the possible testing obligation, doubts arose whether the high cost of PCR tests, which typically reaches £150 per traveler in the UK, could negatively affect the financial travelers’ opportunities to fly as it would increase the total price for a standard EasyJet ticket.
“EasyJet was founded to make travel accessible for all so we continue to engage with
Government to ensure that the cost of the required testing is driven down so that it doesn’t risk turning back the clock and make travel too costly for come,” Lundgren said.
According to the latest company‘s financial update, due to strict air travel restrictions such as border closures across Europe, the air carrier had to ground the major part of its fleet, consisting of 172 aircraft. As a result, the winter season capacity decreased by 86% while the passenger number fell by 89% compared to the same period pre-pandemic. Despite a troublesome year, Easyjet said it still had liquidity of $3.4 billion (£2.5 billion) in Q1 2021, backed by sales and leaseback agreements for its aircraft worth over a billion.