Coronavirus: Stelios ‘calls for EasyJet fleet cut’

EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou wants the airline’s fleet to be trimmed by a quarter due to widespread travel curbs imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The UK budget carrier’s largest shareholder called for the fleet to be reduced to 250 from 344 aircraft as airlines worldwide cut costs in the face of the global crisis, according to the Financial Times.

For the airline to survive, it needs to cancel a contract for new Airbus aircraft and aim to run a fleet of 250 planes, almost 100 fewer than at present, a spokesman for Sir Stelios said.

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“By far and away the largest threat to the airline’s future viability is the £1.35 billion capital expenditure payment to Airbus in the current 2020 financial year, with another £1 billion per year for each of the next three years,” he told The Times.

EasyJet has grounded about a third of its fleet and has signalled that it will park up most of its aircraft during the crisis.

The carrier said: “EasyJet is taking every action to remove cost and non-critical expenditure from the business at every level. We also remain focused on trying to safeguard jobs.”

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