This suits the low-cost carrier yield model and could give them the initial load factor to make summer 21 a great year.
I also think there will be an ‘ultra late’ market for summer 2020, triggered by the coronavirus dam breaking.
This is likely to occur when cases are peaking in a country and there is no longer any point keeping borders shut.
Wealthier customers who have had the virus will be seriously fed up with isolation by then and will flock to go on holiday at short notice to destinations that are open.
An ‘ultra late’ market is completely at odds with the low-cost carriers yield models, where they start prices low, months ahead of departure and increase them close to departure.
This will not be possible when kick-starting routes virtually from scratch. Airlines will be forced to adopt old-style tour operating practices, filling seats for whatever price they can and discounting at the last minute to fill empty seats.
EasyJet will be cautious about entering into this mad scramble of a market.
It will therefore take them longer than expected to re-open their pre-coronavirus flight network. They will try to allow demand to exceed supply before adding further capacity, assuming they can afford to leave aircraft parked on the ground.
Financial support for a UK plc which operates easyJet UK, Europe and Switzerland is not 100% cut and dried. Why would the UK government want to support aircraft registered in other countries?
However, I still back easyJet to get support faster from the UK government than Ryanair from the Republic of Ireland. Where an airline is domiciled could have a bigger impact than previously thought.
To answer my own question, ‘Could easyJet really go bust?’ – the answer has to be yes. But given its excellent management, customer service ethos and great track record, it should ride out the headwinds it is facing, although it may suffer substantial damage along the way.
On balance, I’m more likely to be a buyer of shares than a seller in the next six months.