EasyJet announces cautious restart on some routes from 15 June with strict face mask rule

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 21st May 2020) London, Uk –

The airline announces a cautious restart on some routes from 15 June ahead of an investor vote that could see its CEO forced out.

EasyJet says it plans to resume a small number of flights next month with strict safety protocols for passengers and crew alike.

Top of the measures, the no-frills carrier said, would be the wearing of face masks for all those aboard its aircraft.

The company said it would likely operate domestic flights within the UK and France from 15 June with the only international service being Gatwick to Nice initially.

The UK airports to see the limited domestic services return will be Bristol, Birmingham, Gatwick, Liverpool, Newcastle,
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Belfast, easyJet added.

Shares were more than 2.5% up in early trading after a plunge of 60% in the year to date.

The airline made its announcement as it faces a series of headaches away from flight operations – largely grounded by COVID-19 since March.

It revealed on Tuesday a hacking of its digital systems that exposed personal details of nine million customers.

The easyJet chief executive and chairman are also facing a fight for their futures as the airline's founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, bids to have them removed from their posts in a shareholder vote due on Friday.

Easyjet has furloughed thousands of staff and borrowed £600m under a government-backed financing scheme as it seeks to shield itself from the effects of the coronavirus crisis that has hit the industry hard, with BA, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic collectively planning 18,000 job losses.

It said that the cautious commencement of flights would only go ahead with a series of measures agreed with regulators and in-line with the advice of national governments.

These steps include:

:: Customers, cabin and ground crew will be required to wear masks

:: Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of easyJet aircraft

:: Availability of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser onboard

EasyJet said there would be no onboard food service.

The Luton-based airline looks set to be the second operator to resume flights after Wizz Air restarted services from the town's airport earlier this month.

BA and Ryanair are targeting July.

Johan Lundgren, the easyJet chief executive, said of its plans: “These are small and carefully planned steps that we are taking to gradually resume operations.

“We will continue to closely monitor the situation across Europe so that when more restrictions are lifted the schedule will continue to build over time to match demand, while also ensuring we are operating efficiently and on routes that our customers want.”

By James Sillars