How bad are things at easyJet? Well, the backward-looking numbers are dreadful, obviously. An airline that has previously always made annual profits now expects a “headline” loss of £815m-£845m in the financial year to September, even before counting the whack from bad fuel hedges and redundancy and restructuring costs.



a man standing in front of a plane: Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters

Yet it’s the forward-looking indicators that matter now, and easyJet is sending confused signals. The only simple part to understand was the familiar call by the chief executive, Johan Lundgren, for the government to “step up with a bespoke package of measures” for the aviation industry. He has a point: it’s shocking that it was only this week that ministers announced a “travel task force” to construct a decent Covid-testing system at airports.



a man standing in front of a plane: Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet. He has a point with his now familiar calls for government assistance.


© Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters
Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet. He has a point with his now familiar calls for government assistance.

But what about easyJet’s direct financial strain? The airline said it will fly at only 25% capacity in the current quarter, but when does that become a crisis? Does easyJet mean it could soon want more financial aid from the state, on top of the £600m already secured from the big-company coronavirus borrowing facility? It’s hard to tell.

If Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, scanned easyJet’s trading update, he would be forgiven for concluding there’s little to worry about. Removing costs has put easyJet in a position “to emerge from the pandemic in an even more competitive position”, the statement declared. While £700m of cash was burned in the last quarter and net debt reached £1.1bn, there was £2.3bn of liquidity at the end of last month.

Behind the scenes, one suspects the message is starker about financial risks if quarantine rules remain at their current settings for months on

EasyJet expects a pre-tax loss of up to ?845 million for its fiscal year just ended as coronavirus travel restrictions slam passenger demand, the British no-frills airline said Thursday.

It forecast a loss for the year to September 30 of between ?815 million and ?845 million ($1.04 billion and $1.08 billion), adding that its flight capacity should reach only about 25 percent in the final three months of 2020.

Updating on EasyJet’s first ever annual loss, chief executive Johan Lundgren urged the UK government to do more to support the country’s ailing aviation sector.

“At the beginning of this year, no one could have imagined the impact the pandemic has had on the industry,” Lundgren said in Thursday’s trading update.

“Aviation continues to face the most severe threat in its history and the UK government urgently needs to step up with a bespoke package of measures to ensure airlines are able to support economic recovery when it comes.”

EasyJet grounded its entire fleet for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic EasyJet grounded its entire fleet for more than two months due to the coronavirus pandemic Photo: AFP / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA

Lundgren added of the 25-year-old airline: “This year will be the first time in its history that EasyJet has ever made a full year loss.”

The carrier grounded its entire fleet on March 30 as Britain went into a lockdown, returning to the skies with only a very limited schedule in the middle of June.

As a result, EasyJet is axing up to 4,500 jobs, or almost one third of its staff, mirroring moves by airlines worldwide.

“Removing cost from the business is a key management priority and will position EasyJet to emerge from the pandemic in an even more competitive position for the long term,” it said Thursday.

“At this stage, given the continued level of short-term uncertainty, it