EasyJet Sells Planes to Raise Cash as It Slashes Services

EasyJet Plc boosted cash reserves via a new round of aircraft sales as a wave of coronavirus lockdowns pushes it to deepen capacity cuts.

Britain’s biggest discount carrier raised $169.5 million through the sale of 11 Airbus SE jets, which it will lease back, according to a statement Friday. The move takes the number of planes involved in such transactions above 40.

EasyJet said that following curbs on flights in the U.K., France and Germany, it now plans to fly no more than 20% of its planned capacity in the three months through December. The Luton, England-based company had already slashed seating levels for the winter months to 25% of usual levels.

European carriers that raised billions after the initial coronavirus lockdowns grounded fleets across the region are again reviewing their liquidity as the pandemic continues to rage. EasyJet entered 2020 with one of the industry’s strongest balance sheets and subsequently tapped a U.K. government funding program for 600 million pounds ($786 million) as the virus hit.

The carrier said it will assess further financing options, including more sale-and-leaseback transactions. Some 141 aircraft remain fully owned.

EasyJet on Thursday played down a media report suggesting it had sought a “large sum” from the German government, while saying it’s in regular contact with countries where it operates regarding support available to all eligible firms.

The stock traded 0.7% lower as of 8:04 a.m. in London, taking the decline this year to 62%.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.