easyJet reinstates dividend after returning to annual profit

easyJet has reported its first annual profit since the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the 12 months to 30 September 2023 the low-cost airline recorded headline profit before tax of £455m, compared with a loss of £178m in 2022 — an improvement of £633m year-on-year. This included record profit before tax in the second half of the year.

The strong performance was achieved despite challenges including high fuel costs, air traffic control strikes and the UK air traffic system failure at the end of August.

Based on its results for the year, easyJet has announced its first dividend payout to shareholders since the pandemic. The company will pay a final dividend of 4.5p per share, amounting to £34m, in early 2024.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “Our record summer performance demonstrates the success of our strategy and that demand for easyJet remains strong as customers choose us for our network and value.”

Bookings in the current financial year are ahead of last year and the airline’s outlook is positive. However, earnings will be impacted by the conflict in the Middle East, with flights to Israel and Jordan temporarily paused.

easyJet cancels 1,700 summer flights

Low-cost airline easyJet has cancelled 1,700 flights to and from London’s Gatwick airport in July, August and September.

The airline said the whole airline industry was seeing “challenging conditions this summer” with constrained airspace over Europe due to the war in Ukraine, as well as ongoing air traffic control difficulties due to staffing issues and industrial action.

Up to 180,000 customers are affected by the cancellations, which represent 2% of easyJet’s summer schedule.

However, the company said that 95% of affected passengers have already been rebooked onto alternative flights.

Services at Gatwick, where the carrier has multiple daily frequencies, will be consolidated to help minimise the impact on customers’ holiday plans.

easyJet will still operate about 90,000 flights over the period.

The airline is currently operating up to around 1,800 flights and carrying around 250,000 customers per day.

easyJet raises profit outlook as bookings rise

Budget airline easyJet has improved its first quarter performance by £80m after a 47% jump in passenger numbers at the end of 2022.

In a trading update for the three months to the end of December, easyJet said that it carried 17.5 million passengers compared with 11.9 million in the same period a year earlier, when travel was hit by pandemic restrictions.

The airline also reported strong demand for new year holiday bookings.

“We have seen strong and sustained demand for travel over the first quarter, carrying almost 50% more customers compared with last year,” said easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren. “Many returned to make bookings during the traditional turn of year sale where we filled five aircraft every minute in the peak hours, which culminated in three record-breaking weekends for sales revenue this month.”

easyJet reduced its first quarter pre-tax loss to £133m, against a loss of £213m in September-December 2021.

It now expects its seasonal first-half loss to be “significantly” better than last year and anticipates beating the current market expectation for full-year profit of £126m.

easyJet reports record quarterly profit

Low-cost airline easyJet is optimistic about the year ahead after reporting its highest ever earnings for a single quarter, with headline EBITDAR of £674m in its fourth fiscal quarter.

The airline said that after operational issues experienced across the industry in the third quarter, Q4 was characterised by more stable operations and capacity around pre-pandemic levels.

For the 12 months to 30 September, easyJet reported a headline loss before tax of £178m compared with a loss of £1.14bn in the previous year.

Revenue for the full year rose to £5.8bn from £1.5bn a year earlier.

The airline industry has faced multiple headwinds this year including Omicron, higher fuel prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and operational challenges as demand returned after the end of travel restrictions across Europe.

With increased pressure on consumer budgets over the coming year, chief executive Johan Lundgren said that easyJet was in a better position than many of its competitors.

“Legacy carriers will struggle in this high-cost environment,” Lundgren said. “Consumers will protect their holidays but look for value and across its primary airport network, easyJet will be the beneficiary as customers vote with their wallets.”

easyJet expects Q4 operating profit of up to £545m after ‘record bounce back’

Low-cost airline easyJet saw strong improvement in the 12 months to September but will remain in the red for the year.

In a trading update, easyJet said it expects to report a group pre-tax loss of between £170m and £190m — compared to the loss of more than £1bn in 2020 and 2021.

Operating profit for the full year is expected to be breakeven.

Thanks to a “record bounce back” over the summer, the airline anticpates operating profit for the fourth quarter of between £525m and £545m.

Passenger numbers almost doubled compared to last summer, reaching 24 million, and group revenue grew to £2.5bn from £1bn a year ago.

easyJet expects to fly around 20 million passengers in October-December, its first quarter of fiscal 2023. This is an increase of more than 30% year-on-year, with UK capacity during the peak travel periods, such as October half term and Christmas week, back to pre-pandemic levels.

“We face the uncertain macroeconomic environment with many strengths through our brand, network and business model which enable us to provide low fares to millions despite the rising cost of living,” said chief executive Johan Lundgren.

Which? reports easyJet to regulator over treatment of passengers with cancelled flights

Which? has reported easyJet to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) over the way it has treated passengers whose flights were cancelled.

Thousands of flights from UK airports have been cancelled and delayed in recent months due to staff shortages.

The consumer group said it had heard from passengers who were kept in the dark about their legal right to hundreds of pounds in compensation and the chance to be rerouted with other airlines after easyJet cancelled their flight.

According to Which?, some families were left to sleep on the airport floor or buy expensive new flights home after cancellations.

Under UK law, after a cancellation airlines are expected to offer passengers a rebooking to their destination at the ‘earliest opportunity’. This means offering them a flight with an alternative airline if that is the best option.

Instead, Which? found that easyJet was directing passengers to the ‘Manage my booking’ section of its app and website, which only gives options to rebook on an easyJet flight.

The CAA said it would review the evidence provided by Which? and “respond accordingly”.

easyJet reduces aircraft capacity due to crew shortages

Budget airline easyJet will remove seats on some of its aircraft this summer so that it can operate flights with a smaller team of cabin staff.

Under Civil Aviation Authority rules, airlines must have one cabin crew member for every 50 seats.

easyJet’s Airbus A319s are normally configured with 156 seats, which would require four cabin crew, but by removing six seats and reducing this figure to 150 it can operate the aircraft with just three crew members.

The carrier said this was an effective way of operating the fleet while “building additional resilience and flexibility” into its operations.

easyJet’s larger A320 and A321 neo aircraft — which are configured with 186 and 235 seats respectively — are not affected by the move, Business Traveller reported.

Many airlines, including easyJet, are dealing with staff shortages as the demand for travel increases following the removal of all remaining UK Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Experts are predicting that staffing difficulties will continue for up to 12 months, according to BBC News.

In addition to removing seats, easyJet will put more resources into processing the accreditation of new staff.

The airline expects to be near 2019 levels of flying this summer.