Tuesday 27 October 2020 9:47 am

Easyjet raises £300m from plane sales in bid to boost balance sheet

Easyjet today agreed to sell nine more planes for £305.7m as the low-cost carrier seeks to relieve pressure on its balance sheet.

Wealth management firm Wilmington Trust Services will buy five Airbus 320s, and aircraft leasing firm Sky High 112 will buy the remaining four 320s.

Earlier this month Easyjet was reported to have told ministers that it could need more financial support from the government as the traditionally loss-making winter season begins.

The reports came as the airline said it was on track for its first ever full year loss as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the downturn caused by the disease, passenger numbers have halved to 48m this year, leading the company to seek fresh financing. 

In August the carrier sold 23 aircraft for £608m, while earlier in the summer it drew down £600m from the Bank of England’s coronavirus loans programme.

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Easyjet has also raised £419m through a placing of 15 per cent of its existing share capital. 

This morning shares slipped 1.2 per cent on the back of the sale. 

Based on current travel restrictions, Easyjet has warned that it expects to fly just 25 per cent of capacity in the first quarter of its new financial year.

The UK’s travel quarantine policy has hammered demand, with passengers only able to go to a handful of countries without self-isolating for 14 days on return.

Many of Easyjet’s most popular short-haul destinations such as France, Spain, and Portugal are covered by restrictions due to a Europe-wide surge in infections.