EasyJet reports first ever loss as budget airline hammered by coronavirus

EasyJet has reported its first ever loss (Image: Getty)

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Budget airline EasyJet has reported pre-tax losses of £1.27billion for the year to September 30, marking the first loss in the company’s 25-year history.

That's despite slashing costs, reducing flights and cutting staff  numbers. Based on current travel restrictions, EasyJet expects to fly no more than 20% of planned trips in the first three months of financial year 2021.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "I am immensely proud of the performance of the EasyJet team in facing the challenges of 2020.

"We responded robustly and decisively, minimising losses, reducing cash burn and launching the largest Cost Out and restructuring programme in our history – all while raising more than £3.1 billion in liquidity to date."

Passenger numbers fell 50% as planes stayed on the ground
(Image: AFP)

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As the impact of coronavirus became clear, EasyJet stepped up its actions to make sure it survived.

The airline secured more than £2.4 billion in cash to keep going, while cutting every cost it could.

Staff were moved to seasonal contracts, bases closed, operating costs and capital spending were cut.

Overall headline costs – excluding fuel – fell 30.8%.

It also sold planes and leased them back to generate cash and even started looking at routes that were shorter between destinations and flying slower to save on fuel.

But at the end of it all, the airline believes it will not just survive, but thrive when the impact of coronavirus falls away.

"EasyJet has not only withstood the impact of the pandemic, but now has an unparalleled foundation upon which to emerge strongly from the crisis," Lundgren said.

"Our unmatched short haul network and trusted brand will see customers choose EasyJet when returning to the skies."

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