EasyJet – which operates services from Jersey to Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Gatwick, Luton, Southend, Manchester and Newcastle – says it has now begun cancelling a large number of flights. It added that it could ground its entire 160-strong fleet of aircraft.
In a statement, a spokesman for easyJet, said: ‘Due to the unprecedented level of travel restrictions being imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and significantly reduced levels of customer demand, easyJet has undertaken further significant cancellations.
‘These actions will continue on a rolling basis for the foreseeable future and could result in the grounding of the majority of the easyJet fleet. EasyJet will continue to operate rescue flights for short periods where we can in order to repatriate customers.’
Meanwhile, Willie Walsh, chief executive of the International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, has said he is to collectively cut capacity across his airlines’ routes by 75%. The group also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, among others.
‘We have seen a substantial decline in bookings across our airlines and global network over the past few weeks and we expect demand to remain weak until well into the summer. We are therefore making significant reductions to our flying schedules,’ Mr Walsh said.
And Blue Islands has now suspended a number of services but says it will continue to operate a revised timetable until 12 April to Guernsey, Bristol and Southampton to ensure ‘lifeline’ services are maintained.
Last week, it was reported that the link to Southampton was at risk after Flybe – which operated the vast majority of services from the Hampshire airport – collapsed. Large numbers of Islanders travel to the city every year for specialist medical care.
At the time, Southampton Airport’s managing director sent a letter to all staff saying that the parent company of the business was ‘financially threatened’.
However, he has now said maintaining services to the Channel Islands is of ‘paramount importance’ and that he is ‘fully committed to keeping this service going’.
Blue Islands has also now said that anyone booked on affected flights will be automatically moved to the nearest available flight and alternative airport and will receive an email advising them of the change.
Passengers booked on flights up to 12 April can also fly on another date and another route without incurring administrative fees.
The official advice government advice yesterday was to undertake only essential travel into and out of the Island.
Essential travel includes travel for medical and compassionate purposes or travel by key workers required to keep essential services running across the Island.