Easyjet’s chief executive Johan Lundgren has said that recovery is on the way as the airline’s bookings skyrocket, especially for warmer destinations.
As reported by Lundgren during the carrier’s trading update call, bookings for destinations such as Turkey and Egypt have registered a 400 per cent increase.
“We have seen city breaks beginning to return alongside a growing demand for leisure travel from customers looking for holidays in popular major destinations,” said the chief executive.
“October half-term bookings have been strong particularly for the Canary Islands where we have increased our capacity to circa 140 per cent compared to Covid-19 levels.”
Lundgren also added that capacity is expected to grow as Easyjet moves to 2022, going to 70% of pre-pandemic levels. “We continue with our upward trajectory and capacity while also keeping a tight control on costs. The recovery is underway and Easyjet will seize opportunities as we emerge from the pandemic.”
Lundgren said it’s still early to say if thing will go back to normal by the summer of 2022. “We believe 2023 is going to be the year when we are going to go back to 2019 but all of this depends on the restrictions and what will happen with the pandemic. Nobody knows exactly when it’s going to take place.”
The chief executive also added that even though some routes are not operating at the levels the company would like, the UK Government’s recent easing of travel restrictions – including changing the mandatory day-two PCR tests with cheaper later flow ones – is a step in the right direction.
“But what we would like to see [eventually] is for the lateral flow test to go,” he added. “I think the UK Government is working towards that. It’s more a matter of timing and monitoring the situation in the next few months.”
The airline announced today that the expected losses before tax for the year ending 31 September 2021 amount between £1.14bn and £1.18bn, with the board choosing not to issue dividends for FY21.
The losses come as a result of the pandemic and the consequent travel restrictions. Over the past three months, the airline operated at 58 per cent of pre-pandemic capacity, carrying 13.3m passengers.
“During the quarter easyJet significantly ramped up its flying which meant we were the second largest airline operating in Europe this summer while also halving our Q4 losses versus last year,” said Lundgren.
As reported by City A.M., investors’ confidence in the company is still high, as the carrier managed to reduce its net debt from £2bn to £0.9bn in the fourth quarter, following the successful issuance of £1.2bn worth of shares to help boost the airline’s pandemic recovery.