Easyjet has warned that the coronavirus crisis will push it to a loss of more than 800m this year as the low-cost carrier slashed its winter flight schedule to cut costs.
The airline said on thursday that it expects to report a pre-tax loss of between 815m and 845m in the year ending in september, the first time in its history it will record an annual loss.
As passenger demand slumps amid shifting quarantine restrictions and rising coronavirus cases across many of its key markets, easyjet said it would fly only 25 per cent of last years capacity in the final three months of this year, down from just under 40 per cent in its most recent quarter.
Airlines have cut expenses and raised cash to see them through the winter months, a lean period even in normal times.
The ftse 250 group has raised more than 2.4bn in cash since the beginning of the pandemic, including from the sale and leaseback of planes and tapping shareholders for just over 400m.
The airline said it burnt through less than 700m in cash in its fourth quarter, down from 774m in the previous three months.
Johan lundgren, easyjet's chief executive, called on the uk government to offer the industry more help.
The uk government urgently needs to step up with a bespoke package of measures to ensure airlines are able to support economic recovery when it comes, he said.
Mr lundgren was one of several airline chiefs to cautiously welcome the uk's launch of a travel 'task force' on wednesday to explore ways to introduce covid-19 testing for people arriving at airports.