The suspension of flights to Sharm el-Sheikh will have a minimal impact on easyJet of less than £10 million, the carrier’s boss claims.
The airline has stopped flying to the Red Sea resort until the end of November following the October 31 downing of the Russian Metrojet Airbus killing all 224 people on board.
EasyJet chief executive. Carolyn McCall. said there would be a “very small” effect on the airline even if flight suspensions were extended, as Sharm el-Sheikh represents such a tiny proportion of the overall network.
She estimated operational costs of £5-£6 million plus disruption costs – including accommodation and expenses for stranded passengers – which combined would be below £10 million.
Passengers are choosing alternative winter sun destinations while the Red Sea resort is unavailable, such as the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Morocco.
Addressing the impact of the Paris terrorist attacks, McCall suggested there would be an immediate “cooling off” period before people quickly resume travelling again – as was seen in the wake of the Germanwings disaster in March.
“When we have seen tragic events in the past, travel recovers because people want to get back to a sense of normality,” she said.
McCall added that increased airport security was already happening and passengers would welcome such measures.
“Security has to be number one on the agenda,” she said, adding that the airline will communicate with travellers should there be increased wait times at airports.
“We will never operate to airports that are not safe to fly to,” she said.
McCall was speaking after the budget airline reported an 18% rise in annual pre-tax profits to £686 million.
She appeared to rule out formal interline agreements with long haul carriers, saying she would prefer to work with airports such as Gatwick and Milan to help easyJet passengers connect with other flights.
McCall described former Tui Airlines chief operating officer, Chris Browne, as a “great addition’ to the board, having integrated five airlines into one. Browne, who joins as a non-executive director in January, also happens to be one of easyJet’s biggest users, she added.
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