Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak appears to have ruled out an industry-wide rescue deal for airlines and airports, communicating via letter that “the government is prepared to enter negotiations with individual companies seeking bespoke support as a last resort, having exhausted all options”.
The coronavirus outbreak has crippled air passenger travel, forcing major airlines such as easyJet (EZJ) to ground the majority of their fleets as they rush to bring down their costs. On 24 March, the International Air Transport Association lifted its estimate for Covid-19’s impact on industry revenues to $252bn (£212bn) from its previous forecast of up to $113bn earlier this month.
Mr Sunak urged aviation companies to scrutinise their cash flows. “We would expect all companies to be pursuing all possible actions to preserve cash and maximise liquidity,” he wrote, “including engaging with shareholders, lenders and the markets and utilising all available assets and facilities.”