EasyJet expands its flight schedule as demand takes-off despite COVID-19 uncertainty

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 4th Aug 2020) London, Uk – –

The budget airline expands its schedule for the rest of holiday season as a result of bookings performing better than predicted.

Greater than expected demand has led easyJet to increase the number of flights it is offering over the summer, despite continuing uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.

The budget airline expanded its schedule to 40% of normal capacity between July and September rather than the 30% previously expected.

The carrier said it has seen strong demand from UK holidaymakers flying to GreeceTurkey and Croatia.

In response to the upbeat move, the company's shares, which have lost more than 60% of their value since the start of the year, leapt 8%.

While the government's decision to remove Spain from its quarantine exemption list in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases had reduced the number of new bookings being made, most customers with existing plans were going ahead with them, according to the airline's boss.

Criticising the UK's approach towards so-called travel corridors, chief executive Johan Lundgren argued the policy was “not specific enough”.

He called for it to be based on regions rather than countries, pointing out parts of Spain had far lower rates of infection than some areas of the UK.

Figures released by the airline show in the three months to the end of June, easyJet made just £7m in revenue as a result of its fleet, like other carriers, being grounded due to the coronavirus.

In the two weeks from the middle of June when it started flying again, it carried 117,000 passengers in the 132,000 seats available.Why do UK and Spain disagree over quarantine?

Mr Lundgren said: “I am really encouraged that we have seen higher than expected levels of demand with load factor of 84% in July with destinations like Faro and Nice remaining popular with customers.

“Our bookings for the remainder of the summer are performing better than expected and as a result, we have decided to expand our schedule over the fourth quarter to fly circa 40% of capacity.

“This increased flying will allow us to connect even more customers to family or friends and to take the breaks they have worked hard for.”

He also said the airline had urged the government to look at deciding quarantine-exempt travel corridors on “a regional basis”.

Mr Lundgren said: “You see parts of Spain – the Balearics and the Canary Islands – who have significantly lower rates of infections than other parts of Spain and also in the UK.”