EasyJet records better than expected £545m loss in half-year results

Budget airline figures for six months to March 2022 offer hope as chief aims for 90% capacity by third quarter

the chief executive of easyJet said the airline had been transformed during the pandemic. Reuters
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The UK’s leading budget airline on Thursday predicted a strong summer of travel and continued improvement to its bottom line, despite reporting a loss before tax of £545 million ($674m) in its results for the six months ending March 31.

EasyJet's optimism came from losses falling 22 per cent compared to the equivalent trading period in the six months to October 2021 when a £701m deficit before tax was reported.

Revenue for the H2 trading period increased 524 per cent to £1.49 billion compared to £240m in H1.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said the improved performance came from pent-up demand after the removal of Covid-19 related travel restrictions, and the company's success in selling a range of products such as hotels and car rentals.

“EasyJet has reduced its losses year on year, at the better end of guidance," he said in a statement. "The pent-up demand and removal of travel restrictions provided for a strong and sustained recovery in trading which has been further boosted as result of our actions.

“We have transformed the airline during the pandemic, which has enabled us to emerge with renewed strength, underpinned by a product, network and service that customers really value."

Mr Lundgren expects the upwards trend to continue, forecasting a return to full capacity towards the end of the financial year.

“Since Easter we have been flying up to a quarter of a million customers and 1,600 flights every day and in the second half leisure and domestic capacity will be above 2019 levels," he said.

"We expect to operate 90 per cent of FY19 capacity in Q3 and we have capacity on sale of around 97 per cent of FY19 flying in Q4 with easyJet holidays now on track to carry over 1.1 million customers this financial year."

Over the past 10 weeks, customers of the airline have booked 6 per cent more tickets than they did in the same period two years ago.

The airline has moved planes to new routes in better-performing markets and managed to weather the surge in the price of jet fuel in recent months.

In the past year the price of a tonne of fuel has almost doubled, to £617 ($762), easyJet said.

Yet the cost of the fuel bill that easyJet had to pay for every seat on the planes that took off was actually nearly a fifth lower. The business said it had bought enough fuel in advance to withstand the increasing costs.

Updated: May 19, 2022, 9:11 AM