The British airline easyJet indicated today that the easing of the rules for international travel in the United Kingdom “made flight bookings soar”, predicting a “strong summer” in beach and leisure destinations, with levels close to pre-pandemic.
In a statement released today, the ‘low cost’ company admitted that the Ómicron variant of the coronavirus penalized passenger demand last month, but, at the same time, reported having felt a boost in booking processing following the end of the requirement in the UK for covid tests for those vaccinated.
In its balance sheet today of the first quarter of the fiscal year (between October and December, in the case of easyJet), the company reported that the aircraft occupancy rate dropped to 67% in December, compared to 80% recorded in October and November. of 2021.
Despite Ómicron’s impact, the company managed to halve its gross losses in the quarter to £213 million (€255 million), compared to £423 million (€507 million) in the same period last year. .
Since last January 5, the UK executive announced the end, as of February 11, of the need to carry out tests for covid-19 before traveling to the country for those who have the complete vaccination schedule, the easyJet says it has noticed a “significant change” in bookings made by travelers.
Although it predicts that the new variant will continue to impact its performance in the “short term”, the airline anticipates that, between July and September, its flight program will go from just 50% registered in January, compared to 2019, to levels “ almost close” to the pre-pandemic period.
According to Easyjet’s CEO, Johan Lundgren, the company expects a 14% increase in its capacity on routes between the United Kingdom and beach destinations, which will make this operation “the largest” in its 26-year history. .
The manager highlighted that the United Kingdom is “leading in bookings, ahead of Europe, for the first time since spring 2020” and that it is “the traditional beach and leisure destinations that are recovering the fastest”.
“easyJet recorded a significant year-on-year improvement in the first quarter, despite the short-term impact of Ómicron in December”, he said, adding: “We anticipate a strong summer ahead, with an accumulated demand that will make easyJet return to levels of capacity close to 2019 (pre-pandemic), with a particularly good performance on the beach and leisure routes”.