A week after easyJet marked its 25th anniversary, the carrier has reported its worst-ever full-year results. Britain’s biggest budget airline reported a pretax loss of $1,7 billion for the year through September, as passenger numbers halved to 48,1 million. The summer was a particularly tough period, with the airline flying just 38 percent of its planned capacity during the peak holiday season.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren noted the company had responded “robustly and decisively” to the crisis and cheered “welcome news” on a possible vaccine. In November, two vaccine candidates have revealed positive results, which has raised hopes that everyday life around the world could be returning to normal in the first half of next year. Still, the vaccine is not expected to come through quickly enough to salvage the winter season for the aviation industry, with airlines everywhere slashing capacity.
EasyJet noted that it does not expect to fly more than about 20 percent of its planned services in the October to December quarter amid a resurgence of the virus in Europe: “While we expect to fly no more than 20 percent of planned capacity for the first quarter of 2021, maintaining our disciplined approach to cash generative flying over the winter, we retain the flexibility to rapidly ramp up when demand returns,“ said Lundgren, adding that the company knows it’s customers want to fly, and the underlying demand is strong.