EasyJet, a low-cost airline, expects robust leisure demand in summer 2022, thanks to the relaxation of travel restrictions in the United Kingdom and France.
“We see a strong summer ahead, with pent up demand that will see easyJet returning to near 2019 levels of capacity with UK beach and leisure routes performing particularly well,” chief executive Johan Lundgren said in the statement on January 27, 2022.
The remarks came as easyJet released its trading update for the three months ending December 31, 2021, the first quarter of its fiscal year.
According to Lundgren, the UK government’s announcements on reducing travel restrictions have resulted in an increase in bookings.
“Booking volumes jumped in the UK following the welcome reduction of travel restrictions announced on 5 January, which have been sustained and then given a further boost from the UK Government’s decision earlier this week to remove all testing requirements,” Lundgren commented. “We believe testing for travel across our network should soon become a thing of the past.”
However, EasyJet, like many other airlines, stated that the Omicron form of COVID-19 has impacted demand for travel in 2022.
The British airline said load factors were 77 percent in the three months ending December 31, 2022, rather than the over 80 percent it had expected.
It had reported load factors of over 80% in October and November, but this had reduced to 67 percent in December. Customers, on the other hand, had rebooked their flights, which it expects to enhance load factors and revenue in the coming months.
EasyJet is currently selling 67 percent of its pre-crisis capacity in the second quarter. Capacity is just 50% of 2019 levels in January, but easyJet stated it would increase during the quarter.
EasyJet stated that bookings for Easter, which falls in the third quarter, are “encouraging,” and that it expects to boost capacity for the fourth quarter, the main summer season, to near pre-pandemic levels. Capacity was 64 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels in the first quarter.
On January 26, 2022, when releasing its third-quarter results, budget rival Wizz Air made similar remarks about Omicron “denting” their recovery.
EasyJet also claimed it had boosted the amount of personnel on standby to protect its operations, which has been a problem for airlines throughout the world as Omicron spreads among the crew. It has additionally
easyJet nearly halved its headline loss before tax to £213 million in the first quarter, down from £423 million a year earlier. During peak periods, it carried 11.89 million passengers and operated 251 planes.