EasyJet strengthens its finances through $255 million sale and leaseback of six planes

FILE PHOTO: Staff close the doors of a plane ready for departure, as EasyJet restarts its operations amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Gatwick Airport, in Gatwick, Britain June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British low-cost airline easyJet said it strengthened its finances by $255 million (£205 million) through the sale and leaseback of six A320neo aircraft with leasing firm SMBC Aviation Capital.

EasyJet on Thursday raised 419 million pounds through an equity raise to help boost its liquidity to 3 billion pounds as part of its efforts to try to survive the travel slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The funds raised through the sale and leaseback announced on Friday make up part of the anticipated 500 million to 650 million pounds that easyJet said in May it could raise from aircraft sales.

SMBC Aviation will be easyJet’s preferred partner if it decides to sell other aircraft in the next 18 months. The aircraft involved in Friday’s deal have been leased back for terms of between 110 and 122 months.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Guy Faulconbridge