Airline easyJet sees slowing demand as COVID darkens outlook – .

Airline easyJet sees slowing demand as COVID darkens outlook – .

  • COVID-19 outbreaks discourage some short-term bookings
  • Said long-term demand is holding up well
  • Equities down 2%

LONDON, Nov. 30 (Reuters) – UK airline easyJet (EZJ.L) said it saw demand slowing as COVID-19 outbreaks and discovery of the Omicron virus variant forced customers to cancel city ​​breaks, although longer term bookings have held up well.

Releasing its annual results five days after the announcement of the new variant of the coronavirus hammered airline inventories, easyJet said it saw a drop in demand in the near term as customers delay their flights early in the year. next year. However, he did not see an increase in “no-shows” at airports.

“We see that there has been an impact, especially on short-term departures, but it’s not the same level of impact and downturn that we’ve seen previously when restrictions were introduced,” said said Managing Director Johan Lundgren. journalists.

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Shares of the airline rebounded in early trading and fell 2% at 9:10 a.m. GMT.

EasyJet said despite the uncertainty its new October 1 fiscal year has started well and for the summer of 2022 – its fourth quarter of its fiscal year – it expects capacity to have recovered to near pre-pandemic levels.

The group has weathered the pandemic by reducing its costs, strengthening its balance sheet and shifting its capacities to the busiest roads. It is now increasing its fleet plan by 25 aircraft, with additional slots at Gatwick, Porto, Lisbon and Linate in Milan.

Airlines have been on a rollercoaster ride this year, recovering steadily in the first half of the year as Europe and then Britain reopened, before fears began to grow about the pace of the recovery and the future. new outbreaks of COVID-19. .

Airlines shares plunged on Friday after the Omicron variant was announced. Low-cost group Ryanair (RYA.I) had previously warned that European airlines were facing a difficult end to the year as infection rates on the continent soared.

“There is no denying that there is still some way to go and that the months ahead will be uneven at best,” said Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“But a newly refreshed liquidity position and competitive advantages mean there is reason to be optimistic about easyJet. “

EasyJet reported an overall pre-tax loss of 1.14 billion pounds ($ 1.52 billion) for the year to end-September, at the high end of forecast, and said first-quarter capacity is expected to reach around 65% of 2019 levels.

He had previously forecast 70%. However, he did not give a full financial outlook as customers book flights closer to departure, preventing clear visibility.

($ 1 = 0.7507 pounds)

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Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by Paul Sandle, Louise Heavens, Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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