easyJet Cuts Flights As Greek Islands Quarantine Announced

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In response to the UK government’s announcement on Monday that seven Greek islands have been added to the quarantine list, easyJet said today that it would be cutting flights. The airline says that constantly changing travel restrictions across Europe and the UK’s quarantine rules have affected customers’ confidence in making travel plans.

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easyJet cuts flights in response to Greek island quarantine measures Photo: Getty Images

easyJet blames quarantine measures for flight cuts

In a statement issued on September 8, easyJet announced that it would be operating at less than 40% of its planned fourth-quarter capacity. CEO of easyJet, Johan Lundgren, has blamed the UK government’s handling of the coronavirus travel restrictions for the flight cuts.

He says that he is as frustrated as the customers with the unpredictable travel and quarantine restrictions.

“We called on the Government to opt for a targeted, regionalized and more predictable and structured system of quarantine many weeks ago so customers could make travel plans with confidence.   

“It is difficult to overstate the impact that the pandemic and associated government policies has had on the whole industry. We again call on the Government to provide sector-specific support for aviation, which needs to take the form of a broad package of measures including the removal of APD (air passenger duty) for at least 12 months, the alleviation of ATC charges along with continuation of the slot rule waiver.”

easyJet says that the confidence of customers making travel plans has been negatively affected by ever-evolving government restrictions in Europe. It specifically cites yesterday’s announcement that seven Greek islands, including Crete, Santorini, and Zante, have been removed from the UK’s quarantine exemption list. Travelers returning from the affected islands will now have self-isolate for 14 days on their return.

The airline made headlines last month when an overnight delay caused passengers from the “safe” location of Gibraltar to spend the night in “unsafe” Spain. The travelers then had to go into quarantine in the UK.

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easyJet says it would not be appropriate to provide financial forecasts. Photo: Getty Images

Economic forecast inappropriate for easyJet

easyJet has said that quarantines and travel restrictions in its markets have resulted in continued schedule thinning as it concentrates on profitable flight operations. With the continued lack of visibility and the level of uncertainty caused by the constant changes in government travel measures, the airline says that any financial forecast for this year or next would be inappropriate.

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The low-cost carrier intends to focus on limiting cash burn with a program of measures to reduce costs throughout the business. It will concentrate on providing a flying schedule that delivers a positive contribution. The airline will assess additional funding opportunities as it regularly reviews its financial position.

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easyJet has recently had mixed fortunes. Photo: Getty Images

Airline’s recent mixed fortunes

After 11 weeks of being grounded by the global pandemic, easyJet announced in June that it was planning to close three of its UK bases at London Southend, London Stansted, and Newcastle. The move would result in the loss of up to 5,000 jobs, around 30% of its workforce.

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Then, at the start of August, the airline expanded its flying schedule to around 1,000 flights a day in response to better than expected demand as travel restrictions were eased throughout Europe. Unfortunately, many areas of Europe have seen considerable rises in the number of COVID-19 cases meaning renewed government measures being imposed.

Do you think the UK government should have a more structured approach to travel restrictions?

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