file photo taken on December 29, 2019, an aircraft operated by British low cost airline Easyjet prepares for take off - Copyright JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP
The budget airline EasyJet says it is grounding its entire fleet of aircraft because of "unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The company grounded most of its planes last Tuesday but has been operating hundreds of rescue flights to bring home stranded customers. It will continue to work with authorities to operate additional rescue flights if requested.
EasyJet says it can give no date for when it may be possible to restart commercial flights.
"As a result of the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of national lockdowns across many European countries, easyJet has, today, fully grounded its entire fleet of aircraft," a statement sent to the London Stock Exchange read.
However, they will still operate for repatriation purposes. "We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested," the statement went on.
The airline says it has operated more than 650 flights in recent days, returning home more than 45,000 customers.
The company adds that it has reached agreement with the Unite union on arrangements for its cabin crew. For a period of two months cabin staff will receive an average of 80% of their pay through a government scheme, EasyJet says.