EasyJet hits out at ministers despite expanding schedule
THE boss of easyJet has warned that the aviation industry remains in crisis despite expanding his airline’s summer schedule to meet a rise in demand.
Johan Lundgren hit out at ministers for failing to prop up the industry with extra support after planes were grounded worldwide, saying a cut in air passenger duty could have provided a vital crutch. But the airline says summer bookings are performing well and it expects to fly about 40pc of normal capacity between July and September, up from the 30pc it predicted in June.
Criticising Boris Johnson’s aviation policy, Mr Lundgren said: “There has been nothing. And that is very disappointing. I don’t think the moment has gone because we are still in crisis; this is still a very difficult circumstance.
“We continue to urge the Government to come out with a programme and explain what they want aviation in the UK to look like in the future.”
The lack of state support did not stop easyJet from staying relatively upbeat about passenger demand.
The budget airline is burning through less cash than previously estimated now its planes have returned to the skies, Mr Lundgren said.
Investors took heart at the company’s quarterly results, which included a £324m pre-tax loss for the three months to June compared to a £174m profit for the same period last year.
Since the carrier restarted flights in mid-June, demand has picked up. In the last two weeks of the quarter, it carried 117,000 passengers in the 132,000 seats it had available.
The higher-than-expected demand represents a rare positive update for the beleaguered aviation industry, with fears growing that a second wave of virus cases in Europe will prompt further travel restrictions and delay any recovery.
Johan Lundgren, the boss of easyJet, has called for more support from the Government