EASYJET chief executive Johan Lundgren has said the aviation recovery is under way as the flyer saw a significant increase in passengers over the last quarter, indicating “pent-up demand for travel”, as business journeys also returned.
During its fourth quarter easyJet flew 17.3 million seats, operating 58 per cent of pre-pandemic capacity, and this is expected to be up at 70% of 2019 levels by the first quarter of next year.
It is a big difference from the 17% of 2019 volumes which easyJet flew in quarter three.
Recent moves to relax restrictions and testing has created “positive booking momentum” and prompted the airline to make a further 100,000 seats available for early next year “with particularly strong demand for winter sun destinations”.
Mr Lundgren said: “We had a 400% increase to Egypt and Turkey.”
Total group revenue and headline costs for the fourth quarter are expected to be around £1bn and around £1.14bn respectively.
The loss before tax for the year ended September 30, 2021 is expected to be between £1.135bn and £1.175bn against consensus of £1.175bn. The airline said cash burn during the quarter was £36 million per week.
Mr Lundgren said: “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.
“We are encouraged to see positive booking momentum into FY22 which has led us to increase our capacity plans for Q1 to fly up to 70% of 2019 levels
“It is clear recovery is under way. Business travel is returning to easyJet with corporates and SMEs attracted by our value, network and approach to sustainability. We have seen city breaks beginning to return alongside growing demand for leisure travel from customers looking for flights and holidays to popular winter sun destinations including Egypt and Turkey.”
Easyjet shares close down 22.6p, or 3.5%, at 625.4p.