ENTERTAINMENT

EasyJet loses £ 1.2 billion to coronavirus pandemic – its first ever loss


EasyJet is losing £ 1.2 billion to a coronavirus pandemic – the first annual loss in its 25-year history – but bookings are up 50% since the Pfizer vaccine was announced

  • EasyJet has made a profit every year since 1995, including £ 430m in 2019
  • The low-cost airline announces that it will fly at just 20% capacity between January and March
  • The UK aviation industry has been decimated by Covid – with quarantine and testing

EasyJet announced today that the coronavirus crisis has resulted in an annual loss of £ 1.27 billion – the first in its 25-year history – but the prospect of a vaccine has spurred sales over the past 14 days .

In gritty news for the low-cost airline, CEO Johan Lundgren also told investors that the ongoing pandemic means 80 percent of their flights will be suspended between January and March next year.

In the past 12 months, the number of passengers has halved to 41.8 million as demand for flights fell off a cliff as Covid-19 hit Europe. But in better news, sales soared 50 percent this month after good news broke on the effectiveness of two vaccines, Lundgren said.

EasyJet has already confirmed that most flights to the UK will be suspended for the next month due to the recent government lockdown.

To weather the current pandemic, the airline has raised over £ 1 billion in sale and leaseback deals for its aircraft, taken out a £ 600 million loan from the government, cut 4,500 jobs and asked shareholders for £ 419 million.

EasyJet made its first loss in 25 years, losing £ 1.27 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic

Johan Lundgren, EasyJet's CEO, has also announced that 80 percent of his flights will be canceled between January and March next year

Johan Lundgren, CEO of EasyJet, has also announced that 80 percent of his flights will be canceled between January and March next year

It is feared that the current crisis will force most airlines to set up their fleets and lay off employees.

Industry leaders say the problems were exacerbated by the government's 14-day quarantine regime and lack of progress in screening passengers.

The EasyJet Group's pre-tax loss for the year ended September 30 was due to passenger numbers halving to 48.1 million when the pandemic crippled the aviation industry.

She warned against flying no more than 20% of scheduled flights in the first quarter of her year until next September amid a relentless second wave of pandemic fighting demand.

EasyJet's losses contrasted with a profit of £ 430 million last year.

On the underlying basis, easyJet reported pre-tax losses of £ 835m compared to a profit of £ 427m last year, which was in line with expectations.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet's chief executive officer, said the group had responded "robustly and decisively" to the crisis and welcomed "welcome news" about a possible Covid-19 vaccine.

He said: “We assume that we will not fly more than 20% of the planned capacity in the first quarter of 2021, while maintaining our disciplined approach to generative flying over the winter. However, we retain the flexibility to increase quickly as demand increases.

"We know our customers want to fly with us and the underlying demand is strong."

He added that the group should "bounce back strongly".

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