EasyJet is thinning out its winter schedule due to weaker than hoped for demand.
The airline, which had hoped to operate 40% of its usual flights during the fourth quarter, is likely to reduce its capacity by a further 2%.
In a statement, it said the planned cuts were down to the government’s ‘constantly evolving restrictions and quarantine measure’ which, it said, mean ‘customer confidence to make travel plans has been negatively affected’.
The decison to further reduce its winter schedule was announced less than 24 hours after the UK removed seven Greek islands from the quarantine exemption list.
Calling on the government to reduce Air Passenger Duty (APD) and introduce ‘more predictable’ quarantine rules, easyJet Chief Executive John Lundgren said: ” Following the imposition of additional quarantine restrictions to seven Greek Islands and the continued uncertainty this brings for customers, demand is now likely to be further impacted and therefore lower than previously anticipated.
“We now expect to fly slightly less than 40% of our planned schedule over the current quarter. We will continue to take a prudent and conservative approach to capacity, as we have done during this period.
“We know our customers are as frustrated as we are with the unpredictable travel and quarantine restrictions.
“We called on the Government to opt for a targeted, regionalised and more predictable and structured system of quarantine many weeks ago so customers could make travel plans with confidence.”
He added: “It is difficult to overstate the impact that the pandemic and associated government policies has had on the whole industry.
“We again call on the government to provide sector specific support for aviation which needs to take the form of a broad package of measures including the removal of APD for at least 12 months, the alleviation of ATC (Air Traffic Control) charges along with continuation of the [airport] slot rule waiver.
“These steps will support the retention of skills in the sector – all of which would support jobs and promote connectivity.”