EasyJet Bookings ‘Exceeding Pre-Pandemic Levels’ After UK Drops Restrictions

EasyJet Bookings ‘Exceeding Pre-Pandemic Levels’ After UK Drops Restrictions
File photo of an EasyJet Airbus A320-214 landing at Geneva Airport on Nov. 20, 2017 in Geneva. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Summer flight bookings are exceeding pre-pandemic levels, easyJet has announced.

The Luton-based airline said more bookings were made during the past six weeks than in the same period in 2019.

Passengers are booking flights closer to departure than before the virus crisis.

EasyJet said the UK’s removal of its coronavirus travel restrictions on January 24 sparked a “strong and sustained recovery” resulting in the proportion of bookings between the UK and the European Union being “broadly equal”.

This is compared with a 70:30 split in favour of the EU last year when the UK imposed stricter conditions on travellers.

The low-cost carrier operated at 80% of 2019 capacity in the first three months of 2022.

It expects to make a loss before tax in the range of £535 million to £565 million for the six months to the end of March.

This is a reduction in its losses compared with the same period 12 months earlier which is “ahead of market expectations”, according to easyJet.

It attributed this to improved trading and “self-help” measures such as optimising its network, strong sales of ancillary products and a “continued cost focus”.

Commenting on the airline’s record during the first three months of 2022, chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “EasyJet’s performance in the second quarter has been driven by improved trading following the UK Government’s decision to relax testing restrictions with an extra boost from self-help measures which saw us outperform market expectations.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren in this undated image. (Matt Alexander/PA)

“Since travel restrictions were removed, easyJet has seen a strong recovery in trading which has been sustained, resulting in a positive outlook for Easter and beyond, with daily booking volumes for summer currently tracking ahead of those at the same time in FY19.

“We remain confident in our plans which will see us reaching near 2019 flying levels for this summer and emerge as one of the winners in the recovery.”

EasyJet said it has flown 94 percent of its planned schedule in the last seven days, with around 1,500 daily flights.

This is despite “the recent increase in the number of crew testing positive for Covid-19, together with normal operational disruption such as weather and ATC (air traffic control) delays”, the airline explained.

“We have proactively managed this in advance by making pre-emptive cancellations as early as possible, enabling the majority of our customers to rebook onto flights departing the same day.”

EasyJet cancelled at least 23 flights to or from Gatwick, affecting routes between the West Sussex airport and locations such as Berlin, Milan, Valencia and Venice.

The airline said cancellations are being made “in advance to give customers the ability to rebook on to alternative flights”.