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Flights to Europe offered for as little as £1 as airlines scramble to save summer holidays –

EasyJet is offering London Gatwick to Alicante at £35.99 on Aug 10; to Barcelona at £28.99 on Aug 18; to Madrid at £26.99 on Aug 17; to Bordeaux at £40.99 on Aug 16; to Crete at £30.99 on Aug 23; and to Faro, Portugal, at £26.99, on Aug 11.

David Skillicorn, commercial director of Prestige Holidays, said such price-cutting was necessary to rebuild confidence. “It is in the airline’s interest to fill these planes, get them moving, get people to come back and be interviewed at Gatwick or Manchester and asked, ‘How did you get on? What was the flight like? Did you mind wearing a mask?’” he said.

“They’ll go, ‘No, I didn’t mind wearing a mask, it was great, I feel well, I had two weeks in the sun’ … in the hope that this will encourage other people to go, ‘Perhaps this is the new normal.’”

“It hurts the airlines desperately, but then, so does a pile of empty seats hurt them desperately.”

“It is completely about building up confidence in their customers. They don’t want to be selling cheap seats. There is no way anyone on this planet, even Michael O’Leary can argue that it is good business practice to charge eight quid for a passenger to go, it doesn’t go anywhere near the cost.    

With all but a handful of services grounded at the peak of the pandemic in Europe, BA was losing £20million a day. The airline proposed to make up to 1,255 pilots redundant as part of 12,000 cuts across the business.  

Ryanair announced in May plans to cut 3,000 jobs and reduce staff pay by up to a fifth in response to the Covid-19 crisis, which has grounded flights.  

EasyJet has said it will cut up to 30 per cent of its workforce – about 4,500 jobs – as it struggles with a collapse in air travel caused by the virus pandemic.

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