EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou stated that the airline needs to cancel orders for new Airbus aircraft, believing that it should operate a fleet of 250 aircraft rather than its current 344.
Haji-Ioannou shared that in order to survive the coronavirus repercussions, then EasyJet’s fleet size needs to reduce by a quarter; “the number of aircraft in the fleet and the number of aircraft an airline buys from Airbus is critical.”
In November 2019, easyJet placed an order for 12 A320neos valued at $1.37 billion. The prospect of cancelling the order would mean that the airline faces large financial penalties from its only aircraft supplier.
With many airlines dealing with travel bans in attempt to stop the COVID-19, they are worried that they may go out of business. Such restrictions have led easyJet to ground most of its fleet and operating minimum flights.
Haji-Ioannou has reflected on this and argued that a smaller fleet of 250 aircraft would be better for the airline; with a fleet this size in 2015, easyJet had its most profitable year. He commented, “With the overall economy going into recession now, there is no way these 100 incremental aircraft will make any profit in the next 5-7 years. They will just lose more money by having them.”
It is expected that as a short and long-term consequence of the coronavirus, people will be travelling less which could cause the surviving airlines to reduce their fleet size to ensure profits.