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Europe's LCCs navigate the crisis better than legacy airline rivals

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Positive news concerning effective vaccines against COVID-19 has given genuine cause for hope in the aviation industry. Nevertheless, easyJet's confirmation of its first annual loss in the financial year ended Sep-2020 is a reminder that aviation is still mired in its worst ever crisis.

As with all other European airline groups, easyJet is unable to give guidance for the next financial year, given the "continued level of short-term uncertainty". As with all other European airline groups, the immediate focus is on cash-generative flying only.

This report compares Europe's leading LCC groups (Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian and Wizz Air) with the big legacy airline groups (Lufthansa Group, Air France-KLM and IAG) on fleet size, current capacity, 3Q2020 financial performance and outlook.

Europe's leading low cost carriers are mostly navigating through the crisis in better shape than the leading legacy airline groups. Norwegian's financial stress has diminished its position and threatened its future, but Ryanair and Wizz Air in particular have outperformed their legacy rivals on profitability and – most crucially – cash.

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