Budget airline EasyJet has reported it could lose hundreds of millions of pounds in the first half of the financial year after grounding its entire fleet of planes.
The airline has announced pre-tax losses for the six months to the end of March could be between £360million and £380million – mainly caused by fuel costs.
The carrier added that it was trading “very strongly” before the Covid-19 outbreak and said it had raised £1.8billion-£1.9billion in extra cash to help it survive the shutdown, giving it a cash balance of £3.3billion.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “Our first half trading performance was very strong prior to the impact of coronavirus, which shows the strength of EasyJet ‘s business model.
“Since then I have been immensely proud of our team, right across the business, and the way they have worked through these tough times to put us in the strong position we are in now. “
He added: “We remain focused on doing what is right for the company for its long term health and to ensure we are in a good position to resume flying when the pandemic is over.
“While the vast majority of our people are not able to work at this time, there is a small number working tirelessly to help our customers, and to plan for our return to the skies, whenever that might be”.
Mr Lundgren said the carrier had cut costs in a number of ways, including deferring the delivery of 24 new aircraft.
He added that the business had also been carrying out a funding programme that he said would add almost £2billion in extra cash.
The announcement follows the news that EasyJet has secured a £600million coronavirus loan from the UK Treasury and the Bank of England.
EasyJet said it was not possible to issue financial guidance for the rest of the year. It added that it would release half-year results (for the six months to March 31, 2020) on June 30.