EasyJet sales more than double in peak season to top £2.5bn but airline forecasts losses of up to £190m as costs climb
- Passenger numbers soared to 24 million and revenues leapt to around £2.5 billion from £1billion a year ago
- It signalled resilient demand despite the cost-of-living crisis, with its flight programme during October and Christmas weeks back to pre-pandemic levels
- The group is expecting to fly 20 million seats in the last three months of 2022
A record bounceback in demand for travel over the summer is set to help EasyJet sharply narrow annual losses after sales more than doubled in its peak season.
The Luton-headquartered airline expects to deliver underlying pre-tax profits of between £470 million and £490 million over its final quarter to 30 September as passenger numbers soared to 24 million and revenues leapt to around £2.5billion from £1billion a year ago.
EasyJet is on track to narrow full-year headline losses to between £170 million and £190 million – down from £1.14 billion losses in the previous year.
A record bounceback in demand for travel over the summer is set to help easyJet sharply narrow annual losses after it saw sales more than double in its peak season
EasyJet signalled resilient demand despite the cost-of-living crisis, with its flight programme during October and the Christmas period back to levels seen before the pandemic.
Despite the positive news, the board told investors on Thursday the company is not in a position to make dividend payments to its shareholders in respect of the year to 30 September 2022.
EasyJet shares inched 0.11 per cent lower in early trading, trading at 284.80p.
Looking ahead, EasyJet is expecting to fly 20 million seats in the last three months of 2022 – up 30 per cent on a year ago – and the group said it is already seeing demand for next summer.
The carrier insisted that efforts to tackle staff shortages and disruption meant its operational performance since the beginning of July was now better than in the final quarter before Covid hit.
It comes after holidaymakers were hit by flight delays and cancellations alongside lengthy queues as airports struggled to cope with the sudden ramping up of demand for overseas holidays.
Airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick told airlines to cut their flight schedules following scenes of chaos as staff shortages left them struggling with baggage handling, air traffic control and security.
EasyJet said it booked around £200million in disruption costs over the year after the recent airport woes, up from £126million in 2020-21.
Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said: ‘EasyJet achieved a record bounceback this summer with fourth-quarter operating profit expected to be between £525 million and £545 million and passenger numbers almost doubling versus last summer to 24 million.’
He added: ‘Our summer 23 season went on sale last week and we were filling the equivalent of more than four A320 aircraft a minute in the opening hours, demonstrating the continued demand.’
Mr Lundgren also flagged an ‘uncertain’ wider economic backdrop, but said ‘easyJet is Europe’s largest operator at primary airports with one of the strongest balance sheets in the aviation industry’.