easyJet predicts historic £845m loss due to pandemic

Low-cost carrier easyJet said it expects a £845m loss this year due to the pandemic in what will mark the first full-year loss in its history.

The company painted a bleak outlook as it forecast a significant drop in capacity for 2021 and called on the Government to help the embattled aviation sector.

Sky News earlier revealed that easyJet had signalled to the government that it may need further financial support if the coronavirus pandemic continues to hinder its schedule.

In April, the airline took a £600m loan through the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility. It has also raised £400m from shareholders and hundreds of millions of pounds more by selling and leasing back part of its fleet.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “At the beginning of this year, no one could have imagined the impact the pandemic has had on the industry.

“Aviation continues to face the most severe threat in its history and the UK Government urgently needs to step up with a bespoke package of measures to ensure airlines are able to support economic recovery when it comes.

“easyJet came into this crisis in a very strong position thanks to its strong balance sheet and consistent profitability. This year will be the first time in its history that easyJet has ever made a full year loss.

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The airline said it will only need 25% of its planned capacity for the first quarter next year due to the travel restrictions in place throughout Europe. More than 65% of routes within the EU had restrictions at the of September, according to the investment bank UBS.

The company said passenger numbers had fallen by 50% to 48 million for 2020.