EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of aircraft due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Luton-based airline with 344 planes made the announcement on Monday March 30, saying the decision to ground its planes “removes significant cost” – adding that the group “maintains a strong balance sheet”.
The airline said it had completed a deal with Unite that will see cabin crew take a two-month leave of absence as the crisis deepens.
The arrangement, effective from Wednesday, will see staff paid 80% of their average wage through the government’s job retention scheme for two months.
In a statement, the airline announced: “As a result of the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of national lockdowns across many European countries, easyJet has, today, fully grounded its entire fleet of aircraft.
“Over recent days easyJet has been helping to repatriate customers, having operated more than 650 rescue flights to date, returning home more than 45,000 customers.
“The last of these rescue flights were operated on Sunday March 29. We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested.
“At this stage there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights. We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view.”