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UPDATE 1-EasyJet says has not requested state aid after German talks report

(Recasts with easyJet statement)

BERLIN/LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Britain’s easyJet said it had not made a formal request for government funding, responding to a report in business magazine Wirtschaftswoche which said that the airline was in talks with Germany about receiving state aid.

“No formal request for funding (has) been made,” an easyJet spokeswoman said in an emailed statement, adding that the company was in regular contact with governments where it operates regarding available support measures during the crisis.

“We continue to talk to all of these governments on an ongoing basis.”

EasyJet’s finances have come under scrutiny as the impact of the pandemic on travel deepens.

UK media reports in October said that easyJet had told the British government that it may need financial support and its CEO told Reuters last week that he was open to offers of help.

“I am not against state aid,” CEO Johan Lundgren said on Oct.31 during a visit to Berlin to attend the opening of the city’s new airport.

“It is very clear that the crisis has been to that extent that you can’t expect the industry and its players to cope with it all by themselves.”

Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche quoted Lundgren as saying talks with Germany over state aid were “proceeding constructively”.

Even before new lockdowns were announced in England, France and Germany in recent weeks, easyJet was considering options to bolster its finances as a second wave of the pandemic brought travel to a halt for the second time this year.

To try to survive COVID-19, easyJet has so far raised over 900 million pounds ($1.2 billion) from the sale and leaseback of aircraft, taken a 600 million pound loan from the British government, cut 4,500 jobs and tapped shareholders for 419 million pounds. ($1 = 0.7644 pounds) (Reporting by Thomas Seythal, Sarah Young and Klaus Lauer Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Keith Weir)

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