British low-cost airline, easyJet has grounded its entire fleet following unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The carrier – which operates a fleet of more than 300 Airbus aircraft – said there was no certainty surrounding when it would resume operations.
In recent days, easyJet has been helping to repatriate its customers, having operated more than 650 rescue flights to date, returning more than 45,000 customers. The last of these services was flown on March 29, although it remains prepared to conduct more at the request of the UK government.
Johan Lundgren, easyJet CEO said: “I am extremely proud of the way in which people across easyJet have given their absolute best at such a challenging time, including so many crew who have volunteered to operate rescue flights to bring our customers home. We are working tirelessly to ensure that easyJet continues to be well positioned to overcome the challenges of coronavirus.”
The low-cost carrier and Unite the Union have reached an agreement on furlough arrangements for its cabin crew. The deal, which will be in place from April 1 for a period of two months, will mean that the airline’s crew will be paid 80% of their average pay through the government job retention scheme.
In a statement, easyJet said that grounding the fleet “removes significant cost” from its operation, and that it is taking steps to remove “non-critical expenditure” from its business.