Coronavirus: More than 90% of UK airliners grounded as travel demand plummets
More than 90% of passenger airliners in the UK have been grounded as demand for air travel has plummeted, Sky News can reveal.
EasyJet has become the latest airline to ground its entire fleet of aircraft, while Ryanair has warned it can’t rule out a complete shutdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.
International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, has grounded 75% of its aircraft. More than 327 airliners belonging to the group have been parked in storage without a single flight for the past seven days, according to aviation analytics company Cirium.
Wizz Air, the Budapest headquartered airline that flies to 10 destinations in the UK, is operating 7% of its original scheduled capacity – utilising just 19 out of its entire fleet of 121 Airbus aircraft.
Low cost airline and package holiday provider Jet2.com has not operated a single flight over the past seven days on 93 aircraft. The company currently flies 110 airliners.
Data from Cirium also showed more than 40% of the global passenger jet fleet was now in storage – inactive for at least seven days – leaving just over 15,000 available.
It also showed a sharp increase in the number of aircraft placed in storage in the month of March as airlines around the world desperately try to trim costs.
Flight numbers have fallen to a trickle globally as international air travel responds to a collapse in demand and restrictions on movement.
Earlier this month, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Foreign Office is advised against all non-essential worldwide travel for a period of 30 days.
The UK government has ruled out a support package but promised to work with individual airlines should they seek help.
Scottish regional airline Loganair has indicated it will do just that.
Flight information specialist OAG said the aviation industry was now less than half the size reported in mid-January.
It noted that 30% of global flight capacity was lost over the past week alone, with BA losing 72% to date.
Only KLM has lost more in Europe (73%).
Globally, the US, China, UK and India had the most number of airliners grounded.
Middle East-based Emirates said it been brought to a “sudden and painful halt” by the coronavirus pandemic as it too grounded majority of its passenger flights.
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