easyJet has finalised a rights issue to raise more than £450 million as the company seeks to shore up its cash reserves in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
The low-cost carrier returned to flying last week after grounding all services in March.
However, aviation demand is not expected to reach levels seen in 2019 for at least two years.
The share issue is worth up to 15 per cent of easyJet’s current capital.
The carrier also reported bigger first-half losses for the six months to March 31st, but insisted it had been on track for a much-improved performance before the effects of coronavirus hit.
The airline made a pre-tax loss of £353 million, compared with £272 million in the same period in 2018-19, but said £160 million of the deficit was down to hedging against fluctuations in fuel prices.
easyJet has already raised £1.7 billion in additional funding during the crisis and expects to have a cash balance of more than £3 billion after the placing – enough to survive a nine-month grounding.
“We have been decisive in meeting the challenges of the pandemic by cutting costs, vastly reducing our capex while retaining our industry leading fleet flexibility,” easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said.