Jet2.com is preparing to suspend its entire flying programme until at least 1 May, but has pledged to complete the majority of its scheduled repatriation flights to bring home those people stranded overseas owing to new travel restrictions arising from the coronavirus crisis.
A Jet2 spokesperson confirmed to TTG the carrier would continue to fly empty aircraft to a range of destinations to bring home both stranded Jet2 passengers and non-Jet2 passengers who have been left without return flights.
“We are continuing to operate our scheduled programme, with aircraft flying empty from the UK so that we can fill them and bring customers home,” they said. “In addition to that programme of scheduled flights and despite the ongoing disruption, we have been putting on extra flights to bring even more customers home.
“This is an enormously fast-moving and complex situation, and in light of travel bans and restrictions that have been put in place across our destinations, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel some services back to the UK. We are contacting affected customers to advise them of their options.”
Jet2 parent Dart Group confirmed plans to suspend the carrier’s flying programme in a close-of-play trading update issued on Wednesday (18 March), and set out a range of measures to secure the group’s finances over the coming months.
Besides grounding the Jet2 fleet, these include freezing recruitment and discretionary spending, and deferring all non-regulatory capital expenditure. It is also in discussions with its liquidity partners, which Dart said “recognised the strength of its business model”.
Dart confirmed it had £1.5 billion cash on its balance sheet as of 18 March, and long-term structured debt in relation to aircraft financing. “We have a strong and prudent balance sheet,” said Dart.
On government proposals to support the aviation sector, the group said it was “encouraged by the chancellor’s pledge to do whatever it takes”.
“Together with his announcement of a package of government-backed and guaranteed loans, we look forward to seeing further details of the proposed support for airlines and airports in due course.”
Dart has withdrawn profit guidance of 11 March and will provide a further update on full year 2020 profits “once circumstances become clearer”.
“Unprecedented and unforeseen levels of travel restrictions have been imposed by governments across Europe in response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the group.
“This has resulted in Jet2.com having to suspend its flying programme until at least 1 May 2020. Over the past week, we have conducted an extensive repatriation programme to bring our valued customers safely home, and we are proud that the company and all of our colleagues have gone the extra mile to ensure that everyone has been looked after.
“Given the current situation and the wide range of intangibles with which we are now faced, including concern for our hotel partners with whom we have placed deposits to secure hotel rooms for the summer 2020 season, we now have reduced visibility on the financial implications for our company.”