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EasyJet returns to skies, says packed planes ‘100% safe’

written by Sandy Milne | June 16, 2020

EasyJet’s first A320neo delivery (Australian Aviation archives)

EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren has rejected calls for middle seats to remain empty, after the airline recommenced services on 15 June.

Saying he would feel “100% safe” flying on a full plane, Lundgren plans to begin rebooting service across a number of key domestic and short-haul routes following an 11-week hiatus. Flights commenced Monday, with an EZY883 service from London Gatwick to Glasgow.

Though EasyJet will require passengers to wear masks at all times, Lundgren stated that it does not plan on implementing the WHO’s two-metre social distancing rule onboard its aircraft. Speaking to the BBC’s Today program, Lundgren said, “[That] was a proposal early on from one of the regulators.

“But the recommendations that have come out from international authorities … which are also supported by the different local regulators do not include social distancing measures on board the aircraft.”

EasyJet suspended service back in late March and plans on a graded reopening, beginning with services to destinations in the UK, as well as France, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. In April, the airline had announced plans to keep middle seats free “for a short period while flying was resuming”; however, many have pointed out that this could prove unsustainable.

RyanAir CEO Michael O’Leary, for example, called the suggestion that airlines could keep middle seats free “idiotic”, adding that if the Irish government imposed the rule it would have to pay for the seat “or we won’t fly”.

According to Lundgren, the airline plans to offer about 300 flights this week across 22 airports. This is considerably less than 2019 averages, though it plans to build towards 30 per cent of its regular summer capacity.


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