British airline easyJet has said that recently announced lockdowns in England, Germany and France have forced it to scale back its already reduced flying schedule, and that it will now fly no more than 20% of capacity for the rest of the year.
The low level of travel due to the pandemic this year is putting increasing strain on the airline's finances. It also said that it has raised cash of £131 million from a sale and leaseback deal of 11 aircraft.
EasyJet's 20% capacity guidance for the rest of the year is lower than the 25% plan laid out in October, as a surge in COVID-19 cases has brought new restrictions.
The worsening outlook for travel is forcing easyJet to try to strengthen its balance sheet.
The latest aircraft deal comes on top of the £900 million that it has already raised so far that way this year, and the airline said that it could do more. After the deals, it continues to own 141 aircraft, or 41% of its fleet.
"EasyJet will continue to review its liquidity position on a regular basis and will continue to assess further funding options, including those that exist in the robust sale and leaseback market," the company said in its statement.
Investors are expecting easyJet to announce its full-year results later this month, which should contain more details on its financial position.
Two More Counterparties
EasyJet said that the latest sale and leaseback deals are with two counterparties, ACS Aero 2 Beta Limited, which bought ten A320s, and JLPS Holding Ireland Limited, which bought one A320.