Thursday 26 November 2020 1:39 pm

Easyjet sees domestic bookings jump as lockdown restrictions eased

Easyjet today said that bookings for domestic flights had seen a “significant rise” this week following the news that coronavirus restrictions in the UK would be eased over Christmas.

Flights between London and Bristol to Belfast, as well as from London to Edinburgh, were the most popular, the airline said.

Read more: Budget carrier Easyjet posts first ever full year loss

In addition, searches for flights and holidays have increased 200 per cent over the same period. 

International leisure travel is banned until next week under the current national lockdown, but restrictions will be eased for five days over Christmas to allow families to mix.

The easing of restrictions for Christmas also coincides with changes to the UK’s travel quarantine policy. From 15 December, people who elect to take a private test will only have to isolate for five days, if the result is negative.

This, and a number of announcements regarding effective vaccines against the disease, has pushed Easyjet’s share price higher over the last couple of weeks.

Before the Open newsletter: Start your day with the City View podcast and key market data

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “Following the government announcement this week we have seen a 200 per cent increase in searches for both flights and holidays, with domestic bookings significantly up week on week proving popular for those looking to visit friends and family over December. 

“So we know underlying demand is there, which we see every time travel restrictions are lifted”, he added.

The rise in demand comes at the end of a year which has seen the low-cost carrier record its first ever annual loss.

Read more: European lockdowns force EasyJet to scale back capacity even further

Between March and June, Easyjet grounded its entire fleet as wide-ranging travel bans all but ended international travel.

It began flying again over the summer but found its recovery hampered by the UK’s 14-day quarantine policy.