British budget airline, EasyJet has announced their decision to cancel all scheduled flights indefinitely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Planes will be grounded for at least two months.
EasyJet had already cancelled most flights last week and was only running ‘rescue flights’ to repatriate Britons stranded abroad. The company has operated more than 650 of these ‘rescue flights’ in recent weeks, but now will only do so if the British government requests it. Around half of EasyJet’s staff will be sent on leave for two months, but the British government will cover up to 80% of their pay over this period.
In the statement on the company’s website, CEO Johan Lundgren praised the EasyJet staff, saying, “I am extremely proud of the way in which people across EasyJet have given their absolute best at such a challenging time, including so many crew who have volunteered to operate rescue flights to bring our customers home. We are working tirelessly to ensure that EasyJet continues to be well positioned to overcome the challenges of coronavirus.”
EasyJet has been flying to Iceland since 2011 and is one of the most affordable airlines for British tourists visiting Iceland. Since the U.K. is currently on lockdown preventing British tourists from travelling, EasyJet’s decision cannot make the situation for Iceland’s tourism sector any worse, but this move is yet another painful reminder of the severe economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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