LONDON: British airline easyJet said recently announced lockdowns in England, Germany and France had forced it to scale back its reduced flying schedule to no more than 20 percent of capacity.
The low level of travel due to the coronavirus disease pandemic is putting increasing strain on the airline’s finances. It also said on Friday that it had raised cash of £131 million ($171.99 million) from a sale and leaseback deal of 11 aircraft.
EasyJet’s 20 percent capacity guidance for the rest of the year is lower than the 25 percent plan laid out in October, as a surge in the virus has brought new restrictions. At 20 percent, its plan is behind bigger competitor Ryanair which is aiming for 40 percent.
The worsening outlook for travel is forcing easyJet to try to strengthen its balance sheet.
The latest aircraft deal comes on top of the £900 million it has already raised so far that way this year, and the airline said it could do more. After the deals, it continues to own 141 aircraft or 41 percent of its fleet.
EasyJet is Europe’s second-largest low cost carrier.
“EasyJet will continue to review its liquidity position on a regular basis and will continue to assess further funding options, including those that exist in the robust sale and leaseback market,” the company said in its statement.
Investors are expecting easyJet to announce its full-year results later this month which should contain more details on its financial position. They had been planned for Nov. 17 but the airline said on Monday that date was not confirmed.
EasyJet said the latest sale and leaseback deals were with two counterparties, ACS Aero 2 Beta Limited, which bought ten A320s and JLPS Holding Ireland Limited which bought one A320.