EasyJet finances still under review after $266 million sale and leaseback deal

FILE PHOTO: Passengers board a plane as EasyJet restarts its operations amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Gatwick Airport, in Gatwick, Britain June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

LONDON (Reuters) - British airline easyJet EZJ.L said it would continue to assess further funding opportunities after raising an extra 203.6 million pounds from the sale and leaseback of aircraft, as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on travel and its finances.

EasyJet has spent recent months strengthening its balance sheet after COVID-19 halted travel, and while flying has restarted, the pandemic is still causing restrictions with the UK adding France to its quarantine list on Thursday.

By deterring Britons from flying to France, a major holiday destination which joins top destination Spain on the list, easyJet could be forced to cancel more flights.

The airline said on Friday it had raised 608 million pounds from a sale and leaseback plan for 23 aircraft, at the upper end of guidance for proceeds.

“EasyJet will continue to review its liquidity position on a regular basis and will continue to assess any further funding opportunities,” the airline said in a statement.

The latest sale and leaseback deal was for five A321neo aircraft with Jin Shan 37 Ireland Company, a unit of BOCOMM Leasing, in return for $266 million in cash, with the aircraft leased back until each reaches around 10 years of age.

The deal marks the conclusion of the sale and leaseback plan highlighted in May, easyJet said.

Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Paul Sandle