EasyJet expects to fly 97% of its pre-pandemic plan by July as bookings jump 6% over 2019 levels on a sharp rise in demand for air travel
- EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said flight bookings had risen sharply
- He said the airline could be at 97 percent capacity in the summer
- Losses for the period October to March have fallen by £88million in a year
- The airline is removing the rear row of seats from its planes as part of the plan
Arline easyJet will return to 97 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity in July for the summer period, the low-cost airline has announced.
In a briefing, the company said it reduced losses in the six months to the end of March as the number of people flying increased as coronavirus restrictions eased.
Loss before tax for the half year was £557m compared to £645m a year earlier.
EasyJet said it will return to 97 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity in July as the number of passengers booking flights continues to increase
The airline’s chief executive, Johan Lundgren, said easyJet is benefiting from a surge in pent-up demand from people who have been unable to fly during the pandemic
CEO Johan Lundgren said: “EasyJet has reduced its losses year after year at the better end of forecast.
‘Backlog demand and the lifting of travel restrictions ensured a strong and sustained recovery in trade, which was further boosted by our actions.’
The company said it will offer almost as many seats for sale in the last three months of this fiscal year as it did in 2019. The capacity for sale will be 97 percent, it said.
And hopes of selling them are high. In the past 10 weeks, the airline’s customers have booked 6 percent more tickets than in the same period two years ago.
“We have transformed the airline during the pandemic, which has allowed us to emerge with renewed strength, backed by a product, network and service that customers truly value,” said Mr. Lundgren.
EasyJet plans to remove the rear row of seats on its Airbus A-319 fleet so they can fly with three cabin crew instead of four
This included moving aircraft to other routes in better performing markets.
“Since Easter, we have flown up to a quarter of a million customers and 1,600 flights daily, and in the second half leisure and domestic capacity will be above 2019 levels,” said the chief executive.
“It’s well documented that the industry is experiencing some operational issues so, as expected, we have been absolutely focused on taking action to ensure we have strengthened our operational resilience for this summer so we can deliver a great, reliable operation our customers.’
The company has managed to weather the massive jet fuel price spikes of the past few months.
In the last year the price of a tonne of fuel has almost doubled to £617, easyJet said.
But the cost of the fuel bill that easyJet had to pay for each seat on the departing aircraft was actually almost a fifth lower. The company said it bought enough fuel in advance to withstand the major hikes.
According to CAA regulations, three cabin crew are authorized to handle up to 150 passengers
EasyJet, like many other airlines, suffered from staff shortages that forced them to cancel flights.
The airline announced that it would reduce the capacity of its Airbus A319 by removing the rear row of seats, which would limit the number of passengers to 150.
By setting this limit, they could reduce the number of cabin crew on board from four to three and comply with CAA safety regulations.
The airline said: “This summer we will operate our UK A319 fleet in accordance with CAA regulations with a maximum of 150 passengers on board and three crew members. ‘
“This is an effective way to operate our fleet while adding additional resilience and flexibility to our operations this summer when we expect to return close to 2019 flight levels.”