EasyJet has announced it expects to make a loss before tax in the range of £535 million to £565 million for the six months to the end of March.
The low-cost airline said this is a reduction in its losses compared with the same period 12 months earlier which is “ahead of market expectations”.
It attributed this to improved trading and “self-help” measures such as optimising its network, strong sales of ancillary products and a “continued cost focus”.
The carrier operated at 80 per cent of 2019 capacity in the first three months of 2022.
Summer bookings during the past six weeks have tracked ahead of the same period in 2019 as passengers are confirming flight plans closer to departure.
EasyJet said it has flown 94 per cent of its planned schedule in the last seven days, with around 1,500 daily flights.
This is despite “the recent increase in the number of crew testing positive for Covid-19, together with normal operational disruption such as weather and ATC (air traffic control) delays”, the airline explained.
“We have proactively managed this in advance by making pre-emptive cancellations as early as possible, enabling the majority of our customers to rebook onto flights departing the same day.”
Commenting on the airline’s trading update for the first three months of the year, chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “EasyJet’s performance in the second quarter has been driven by improved trading following the UK Government’s decision to relax testing restrictions with an extra boost from self-help measures which saw us outperform market expectations.
“Since travel restrictions were removed, easyJet has seen a strong recovery in trading which has been sustained, resulting in a positive outlook for Easter and beyond, with daily booking volumes for summer currently tracking ahead of those at the same time in FY19.
“We remain confident in our plans which will see us reaching near 2019 flying levels for this summer and emerge as one of the winners in the recovery.”