EasyJet has confirmed it will defer delivery of 24 aircraft from Airbus, with an option to push back or cancel delivery of a further 24 from the manufacturer.
Ten aircraft due during easyJet’s 2020 full-year (to 30 September) have been deferred, along with 12 due during FY21 and a further two on the books for FY22.
Versus the carrier’s previously disclosed fleet plan, it means easyJet will take no aircraft deliveries during FY21 and retains an option to defer a further five deliveries during FY22.
"[The] exact dates of future deliveries of the deferred aircraft are to be agreed in response to the demand environment," said easyJet.
Additionally, over the next 16 months, the airline also has 24 aircraft operating leases due for renewal, which it said in a trading update issued on Thursday (9 April) meant it had further flexibility to defer or cancel these.
EasyJet said the move came as part of its efforts to maximise liquidity and reduce capital expenditure in the event of an extended grounding period owing to Covid-19, while also ensuring the business is ready to react to reduced demand as and when European airspace reopens.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "Our industry is facing unprecedented challenges which require unprecedented action. As we have consistently said, we remain completely focused on improving short term liquidity and reducing expenditure across the business.
"Today [Thursday] I am pleased to announce that we have agreed with Airbus to amend our delivery schedule by deferring the purchase of 24 aircraft, providing a significant boost to our cash flow and a vast reduction to our near-term capex programme.
"In addition, we have 24 leases up for renewal over the next 16 months, which gives us another level of flexibility to respond to future demand."