On the back of a better than expected first half-year of its FY22, easyjet is predicting a headline loss before tax of £535-565 million. This is an improvement over last year. With strong forward bookings, capacity should be almost back to 2019 levels for this summer, it said in a trading update on April 12. The update comes four weeks ahead of the audited HY1-results on May 19. easyjet reduces HY1 loss and sees recovery in HY2.
The low-cost airline reported a £213 million headline loss before tax for the first quarter, which runs from October-December 2021. It didn’t specify the Q2 loss, but based on its projected half-year result, the loss must be between £322-352 million to get to £535-565 million for the October-March period. This compares to a £701 million headline loss before tax in HY1 of FY21. Group revenues will be around £1.5 billion compared to just £240 million in the same period last year.
In Q2, easyjet carried 11.5 million passengers, up from just 1.2 million during the same quarter in 2021 which was dominated by Omicron and Covid travel restrictions in the UK. The number of flights increased to 82.247 from 11.672. The load factor was up to 78 percent from sixty percent.
Further relaxation of travel restrictions in the UK has spurred on bookings for Q3 (Easter) and further ahead. Last year, UK restrictions resulted in an uneven split of the capacity of seventy percent in the EU and just thirty in the UK, but this year this is now broadly equal. The airline operated at 67 percent capacity in Q2 but at eighty percent in March compared to 2019. For the current third quarter, capacity should be up to ninety percent. The summer-quarter July-September will see easyjet operate at almost 100 percent of 2019 levels. Last November, the carrier predicted that without Covid surprises, 2022 should be bright.
Rising fuel prices are a concern for all airlines, with easyjet no exception, although it had hedged fuel costs at $599 per metric tonne in HY1. For HY2, it has hedged 64 percent at $571 and 42 percent for the first six months of FY23 at $654 per metric tonne.
On the fleet, easyjet reports that it continued its strategy of sale and leasebacks of Airbus A319s and entered a transaction for ten aircraft with gross proceeds of £120 million and a loss of £20 million. In FY21, the airline did 35 SLBs, and in FY20 23. The transactions are part of its strategy to de-risk the residual value of these older aircraft.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.