March 18, 2020 / 12:03 PM / 19 days ago

EasyJet launches winter sale in coronavirus rebooking push

PARIS, March 18 (Reuters) - EasyJet launched an early sale on cut-price winter 2020-21 flights, even as the airline industry heads into a deepening coronavirus crisis that threatens to ground most of the British low-cost carrier's planes.

Customers can book flights for 29.99 pounds ($35.87) one way to any discounted destination between Oct. 25 and Feb. 28, 2021, under the week-long offer, which opened on Wednesday.

Airlines are facing a cash squeeze from collapsed forward bookings, as travel restrictions designed to hamper the spread of the virus bring many carriers to a near-halt and passengers seek refunds on cancelled flights.

Many have waived change fees, and the move by easyJet adds more incentive for customers to rebook rather than cancel - as well as courting new long-term holiday reservations from European consumers increasingly under lockdown.

The offer comes a day after Britain urged citizens to avoid non-essential foreign travel for the next 30 days. EasyJet had already warned on Monday that the coronavirus could ground the majority of its fleet.

The airline said its ticket sale would "allow many customers who have had their recent travel plans disrupted even more choice of dates to move their flights to", including Christmas.

$1 = 0.8361 pounds Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Mark Potter

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