The boss of EasyJet has welcomed a “strong and sustainable” recovery in trading since the lifting of the travel ban as the budget airline lost its first-half forecast.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren said the recovery presented a “positive outlook for Easter and beyond” by tracking daily booking volumes before pre-epidemic levels.
EasyJet, Britain’s second-largest airport, Gatwick’s dominant airline, said more bookings were made in the last six weeks than the 2019 equivalent period because customers booked closer to departure and expected it to work closer to the east. – Epidemic flight levels for the summer as a whole.
In a trading statement for six months from the end of March, the airline said its losses were lower than last year, exceeding expectations. This was despite Covid’s challenge, rising fuel prices and the cost of increasing operations. Much of the outperformance was due to the “self-help” system.
The airline said it increased capacity throughout the second quarter, operating at 80 percent of the 2019 level last month and 67 percent for the three-month period. It carried 11.5 million passengers for the quarter, up from 1.2 million in the second quarter of last year.
Since the British government lifted the travel ban in January, the airline has said it has seen “a strong and sustainable recovery in trade”. It forecasts revenue of £ 1.5 billion in the first half of its fiscal year, with seasonal pre-tariff losses ranging from £ 535 million to £ 565 million, compared to analysts’ forecast for a loss of £ 618 million.
The war in Ukraine had little effect on the carrier: it benefited from having very little exposure to Eastern Europe, without any routes to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus. Its nearest network points are Budapest in Hungary and Krakow in Poland, accounting for only 1.4 percent of its total capacity. It does not need to operate any flight routes in Ukrainian, Belarusian or Russian airspace so it does not have to re-route its aircraft, which means increased fuel consumption.
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EasyJet said it felt strong demand for the final quarter from July to September, especially on the leisure route. This has been further enhanced by the addition of five more aircraft-priced slots to Greece, making EasyJet the largest carrier to fly to major Greek islands this summer.
The company said its EasyJet Holidays division “continues to strengthen its position as a significant player in the holiday market” and already sold more than 70 percent at a “significantly stronger” margin than in 2019.
It has been flying all smooth, though. Short-haul European airline, the second largest behind Ryanair in its fleet of more than 300 aircraft, said it was canceling hundreds of flights due to the high-level staff crisis caused by Covid. It said it was already canceling “to give customers the ability to re-book on alternative flights”.
Lundgren, 55, insisted it was “absolutely not fair” to accuse the airline of selling flights that it could not afford. He said the level of absence of crew was double the normal rate. “In some cases we had absences up to 20 per cent, and you don’t expect any airline to be able to cover it at any time,” he said.
He said the number of flight cancellations represented a relatively small proportion of its total operations, adding that 94 percent of its planned schedule had been running for the past seven days. He called on the Department of Transportation to increase safety checks on new employees so that the airline could meet some of the shortcomings.
EasyJet said it had entered into a sale and leaseback deal for ten Airbus A319s, resulting in a total cash loss of $ 120 million and a loss of about 20 20 million in the first half.