EasyJet in talks across Europe over ‘support measures’

EasyJet is discussing “support measures” from European governments but denied making a formal request for funding.

The UK budget carrier was reported to be holding “constructive talks” with officials in Berlin.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren reportedly told German magazine Wirtschaftswoche: “The talks are proceeding constructively.”

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The publication said discussions with German ministers were “apparently about several hundred millions of euros”, but Lundgren declined to specify exact figures.

The EasyJet boss last month called for the UK government to “urgently step up” with a bespoke package of financial support as he revealed that the airline will make its first annual loss this year of as much as £845 million.

The request came before the ban on non-essential travel with the imposition of a second lockdown in England until December 2.

The airline is cutting almost a third of its workforce and expects to fly just a quarter of planned capacity over the winter due to travel restrictions.
EasyJet today revealed that it expects to fly no more than 20% of planned capacity in the first quarter of its 2021 financial year instead of 25% previously indicated.

This follows the UK government’s lockdown announcement on Saturday, as well as similar recent announcements in Germany and France.

“We remain focused on cash generative flying over the winter season in order to minimise losses during the first half and retain the flexibility to ramp capacity back up quickly when we see demand return,” the carrier said.

The disclosure came as the airline agreed further sale and leaseback deals worth £130.7 million covering 11 Airbus A320s.

EasyJet raised £305 million through the sale and leaseback of aircraft last month.

An easyJet spokesperson told the Telegraph: “As a pan-European airline, as you would expect we have regular contact with all governments in the countries where we operate and employ people around the support measures available to all eligible companies.

“No formal request for funding has been made. We continue to talk to all of these governments on an ongoing basis.”

Trade bodies Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association appealed for government aid as the latest lockdown restrictions were announced last weekend.

They said: “Aviation has been devastated by the pandemic and has essentially never had the opportunity to recover.

“A ban on international travel means airlines and airports, already hamstrung by quarantine, are closed businesses and will require financial support now – which other sectors like hospitality have received – alongside a comprehensive restart package.

“This needs to include immediate additional economic support for the winter and steps to support recovery, including urgent roll-out of a testing regime, business rates relief for airports, and an emergency waiver of Air Passenger Duty that will be essential for enabling and stimulating international travel – absolutely vital for the UK economy – for as long as we are living with this virus.

“Hundreds of thousands of jobs and our economic recovery are on the line.”

MoreEasyJet bolsters finances with £305m aircraft sale and leaseback

EasyJet confirms start date for new finance chief


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