EasyJet is now paying refunds within 30? days, chief executive Johan Lundgren has revealed.
Speaking to TTG, Lundgren admitted the refunds situation had been “deeply frustrating”, with the airline having to deal with more than 250,000 cancellations in Q3, compared with 2,500 in the same period last year.
“There is no organisation, no company, that would be set up to deal with that type of situation,” he insisted. “While we’ve been taking a lot of criticism, we’ve been receiving praise in other countries because we were one of the only airlines who actually are paying refunds. Now, we’ve got it down to less than 30 days [in the UK].
“But… as soon as we have an individual customer whose expectations we are not meeting, it is a failure in terms of how you build back trust.”
Meanwhile, Lundgren said the airline couldn’t rule out introducing zero-hour contracts for pilots and cabin crew after announcing 1,900 redundancies, including 670 pilots and cabin crew, following the closure of bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle from this month.
“We have focused on right-sizing the organisation. We haven’t made a big thing out of changing the terms and the conditions of contracts, but who knows?” he said.
“If this [crisis] goes on for a longer period of time, and we’re seeing competitors doing things that make us look uncompetitive, we can’t rule out things that we need to do. But at the moment we hope that [the job cuts] are going to be enough.”
Elsewhere, Lundgren insisted easyJet would continue flying to destinations that had been removed from the UK’s travel corridor list, insisting: “Where there is a demand to these destinations, we will make sure we accommodate that.”
He repeated his prediction that it will take at least three years for the market to return to 2019 booking levels. “We believe it’s going to be 2023 before you’re going to see [that] demand.”
*This interview was conducted and written before the UK government’s latest policy change regarding quarantine measures announced on 7 September.