easyJet is axing flights amid a drop in consumer confidence as the government continues to change travel rules. Last night Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed that seven Greek islands would be added to England’s quarantine list. Mainland Greece and the remaining islands remain on the travel corridor list.
The announcement followed a plethora of changes over the past weeks, with countries including Spain, France and Croatia among many others also removed from the ‘safe’ list.
This means the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO) advises against non-essential travel to these destinations.
What’s more, returning holidaymakers will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Today, easyJet revealed it expects to fly slightly less than the 40 percent of planned capacity in the fourth quarter of the year.
The airline intends to reduce the schedule in order to focus on profitable flying.
“In response to this reduced demand for travel, based on current travel restrictions and quarantines in the markets where we operate, easyJet now expects to fly slightly less than the 40 percent of planned capacity for Q4 2020 which was highlighted at our Q3 trading update,” easyJet said in a statement.
“This is the result of continued schedule thinning as we continue to focus on profitable flying.”
easyJet said it won’t be giving any financial forecasts at this time.
The company’s statement said: “Given the many changes to government restrictions since our Q3 update, the lack of visibility and the continued level of uncertainty, it would not be appropriate to maintain any forward-looking financial guidance, for FY'20 and FY'21, at this time.
“easyJet will continue to focus on delivering a flying schedule that drives a positive contribution while maintaining focus on minimising cash burn through our cost out programme that will drive down costs in all areas of the business.
“easyJet will also continue to review its liquidity position on a regular basis to assess any further funding opportunities.”
Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said: "As we said at our Q3 trading update, we are closely monitoring customer behaviour and amending flying to ensure our schedule is aligned with demand.
“Following the imposition of additional quarantine restrictions to seven Greek Islands and the continued uncertainty this brings for customers, demand is now likely to be further impacted and therefore lower than previously anticipated.
“We now expect to fly slightly less than 40 percent of our planned schedule over the current quarter.
“We will continue to take a prudent and conservative approach to capacity, as we have done during this period.
"We know our customers are as frustrated as we are with the unpredictable travel and quarantine restrictions.
“We called on the Government to opt for a targeted, regionalised and more predictable and structured system of quarantine many weeks ago so customers could make travel plans with confidence."
He continued: "It is difficult to overstate the impact that the pandemic and associated government policies have 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 for at least 12 months, the alleviation of ATC charges along with continuation of the slot rule waiver.
“These steps will support the retention of skills in the sector – all of which would support jobs and promote connectivity."
Meanwhile, rival budget carrier Ryanair has cancelled almost one in five flights scheduled for September and October following a drop in bookings.
Airlines Jet 2 and TUI have also been quick to respond to changing restrictions.
Both have now axed routes to a number of Greek islands until mid-September.