EasyJet ‘ramping up’ flights for summer with airline boss expecting most of Europe to be on green list

Easyjet planes are seen parked at the "Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt" in Schoenefeld, southeast of Berlin (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Easyjet planes are seen parked at the "Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt" in Schoenefeld, southeast of Berlin (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

EasyJet is set to “ramp up” services for the summer holiday season by offering more flights after restrictions ease in late May.

The budget airline’s chief executive Johan Lundgren said he expected most major European destinations to be on the government’s “green list” this summer.

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How the traffic light system works and what it means for holidaymakers (Graphic: NationalWorld)

The carrier expects to fly up to 20% of 2019 capacity levels between April and June, with most countries planning to resume flying at scale in May.

EasyJet flew just 14% of its 2019 flight programme between October and the end of March.

What the EasyJet CEO said

Asked if he expects destinations such as France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus and Turkey to be on the Government “green list”, Mr Lundgren replied: “Yes, by the time we open up for travel on the 17th of May and if the Government continues to have the plan in place on the two-test system.

“I wouldn’t see reason why you wouldn’t have the majority of the countries of Europe in there.

“We really believe that, if you’re in the ‘green’ category, there should not be any need of any testing at all because it would be considered low-risk.

“Now, if there is a PCR and a lateral flow test needed in there, by the time we get to the 17th of May, and the rollout of the vaccination programme that seems to be picking up everywhere we look around Europe, I would struggle to see – unless something happened between now and then – that there would be many countries who wouldn’t be in that ‘green’ category.

“But, like I said, that decision lies within the Government and we urge them to come out and specify very shortly on what those countries will be.”

He added: “[Our customers] want to know if the favourite destination for them to go on their holiday or to visit friends and family across Europe is that country in the ‘green’ category.

“And it will be a big difference, of course, if you’re in the ‘green’ category, versus if you’re in ‘amber’ or ‘red’.”

EasyJet’s financial performance

The group confirmed it will slump to a steep first-half loss, of between £690 million and £730 million for the six months to March 31, but said this is slightly better than expected thanks largely to stringent cost-cutting.

It burned through around £470 million of cash during its second quarter to the end of December, which was lower than feared as it slashed costs by nearly 60% to about £854 million.

Roadmap for foreign holidays in Britain

Britons are set to be allowed to travel abroad for foreign holidays from May 17 under the Government’s road map to easing coronavirus restrictions.

But there are fears over a third wave across Europe and with vaccination programmes progressing more slowly in other countries globally.