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Budget airline EasyJet has reported pre-tax losses of £1.27billion for the year to September 30, marking the first loss in the company’s 25-year history.

The Group's pre-tax loss for the year to September 30 comes after passenger numbers halved to 48.1 million as the pandemic crippled the aviation industry.

It warned it expects to fly no more than around 20% of planned services in the first quarter of its year to next September as a relentless second wave of the pandemic batters demand.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "I am immensely proud of the performance of the EasyJet team in facing the challenges of 2020.

"We responded robustly and decisively, minimizing losses, reducing cash burn, and launching the largest Cost Out and restructuring program in our history - all while raising more than £3.1 billion in liquidity to date."

As the impact of coronavirus became clear, EasyJet stepped up its actions to make sure it survived.

The airline secured more than £2.4 billion in cash to keep going, while cutting every cost it could.

Staff were moved to seasonal contracts, bases closed, operating costs and capital spending were cut.

Overall headline costs - excluding fuel - fell 30.8%.

It also sold planes and leased them back to generate cash and even started looking at routes that were shorter between destinations and flying slower to save on fuel.

But at the end of it all, the airline believes it will not just survive, but thrive when the impact of coronavirus falls away.

"EasyJet has not only withstood the impact of the pandemic but now has an unparalleled foundation upon which to emerge strongly from the crisis," Lundgren said.

"Our unmatched short-haul network and trusted brand will see customers choose EasyJet when returning to the skies."

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