Looking beyond a busy Easter vacation period, the airline looks set to be boosted by Spain's enduring appeal, and enhanced network.
British airline easyJet expects to beat full-year profit market forecasts, it said on Tuesday, encouraged by summer bookings and strong demand over Easter despite French strikes.
Airlines in Europe have reported robust summer bookings despite high inflation and an uncertain economic outlook.
“We see continued strong booking momentum into summer as customers prioritize spending on travel,” said CEO Johan Lundgren.
The airline’s shares were up by almost 3 percent in early trading.
Market expectations for easyJet’s full-year profit stand at about $322.3 million, the company said.
“It looks like the new cost control measures, new route additions and a strong balance book has helped to keep the company steady as we predicted back in January,” said Emma Carr, retail partner at law firm Gowling WLG.
The airline’s passenger capacity grew by 40 percent in the first three months of 2023, it said, with 99.8 percent of Easter flights operating despite strikes by French air traffic controllers.
That resilience in the face of strikes is expected to continue, Lundgren said on a media call.
The strikes, however, have caused easyJet to cancel around 1,000 flights, he added.
The company’s holidays business, meanwhile, is expected to grow by 60 percent this year. Forward bookings were particularly strong to traditional beach destinations such as Malaga, Mallorca, Alicante and Faro, Lundgren said.
The airline said its net debt had fallen to $248 million from $1.37 billion in December but said that fuel prices and a stronger U.S. dollar had raised costs.
Its headline loss for the first half of its financial year is expected to be between $504 million and $528 million, versus a headline loss of $678 million a year earlier.
(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru and Joanna Plucinska in London; editing by David Goodman and Jason Neely)
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Photo credit: Picture: An easyJet plane at Geneva International Airport/Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EasyJet_A319_HB-JZG_@_Geneva_International_Airport.jpg BriYYZ / Wikimedia Commons