Easyjet today saw total revenue shrink nearly 90 per cent for the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic showed no signs of abating.
The budget carrier started the new financial year as it finished the last one, with revenue slumping to a mere £165m for the three month period.
The plunge was announced a day after the government announced a new raft of border measures to control the spread of the infection.
Passengers from around 25 countries deemed high-risk will be forced to quarantine in hotels for 10 days.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said that he’d rather see such a targeted set of restrictions than a blanket ban.
Lundgren also predicted a demand explosion in the summer if restrictions were lifted, and called on the government to waive Air Passenger Duty (APD) to give passengers further incentives to travel.
As a result of travel bans and lockdown measures, Easyjet flew just 2.8m passengers over the last quarter, down 88 per cent on last year.
Just 152 of the carrier’s 318 planes were in operation, meaning Easyjet incurred a headline cost of £588m.
Shares in the carrier dropped 2.3 per cent as markets opened this morning.
Easyjet to fly at just 10 per cent of capacity in Q2
With new lockdown measures in place across Europe, the carrier said it was not expecting to fly at more than 10 per cent of capacity over the next quarter.
Despite a dire 12 months, the airline said it still had liquidity of £2.5bn, propped up by sales and leaseback agreements for its planes worth over a billion.
In order to protect its balance sheet, it has cut costs so that it is now burning just £40m in cash a week.
And the carrier said it was well placed to expand its presence at main European airports such as Gatwick when travel returns.
Having gained extra slots at the Sussex airport from the downsizing Norwegian, Easyjet will operate four more planes from the base in 2021.
It said that the departure of legacy carriers from the market had left an opening for it to jump into.
Johan Lundgren said: “We have taken the right actions to emerge leaner with a reduced cost base and the retrenchment of legacy carriers at key airports will provide additional opportunities for easyJet.
“The key to unlocking travel is going to be the vaccination programmes combined with governments progressively removing restrictions when it is safe to.”