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EasyJet airline sees demand drop as COVID cloud outlook

FILE PHOTO: An easyJet Airbus A320-251N takes off from Nice International Airport in Nice, France
FILE PHOTO: An easyJet Airbus A320-251N takes off from Nice International Airport in Nice, France, September 19, 2018. REUTERS / Eric Gaillard / File Photo

November 30, 2021

By Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) – British airline easyJet said it had noticed a drop in demand during the COVID-19 outbreak and the discovery of the Omicron virus variant forced customers to cancel city tours, despite long-term bookings are still well maintained.

Reporting full-year results five days after news of the novel coronavirus variant battered airline stocks, easyJet said it had seen a short-term drop in demand, with customers delaying flights into early next year. However, the rate of ‘no show’ at airports did not increase.

Chief executive officer Johan Lundgren said: “We’ve seen that there has been an impact, especially for short-term departures, but it hasn’t been to the level of impact and drop off like we’ve seen on previous occasions. restrictions are put in place. reporters.

Shares of the airline rebounded in early trading and were down 2% by 0910 GMT.

EasyJet said that despite the uncertainty, its new October 1 financial year is off to a good start and by summer 2022 – the fourth quarter of the fiscal year – it expects capacity to recover. close to pre-pandemic levels.

The group has weathered the pandemic by cutting costs, strengthening its balance sheet and shifting capacity to its busiest routes. The airline is currently increasing its fleet plan by 25 aircraft, with additional locations at Gatwick, Porto, Lisbon and Milan’s Linate.

Airlines have been on a roller coaster ride this year, recovering steadily in the first half as Europe first and then Britain reopened to travel, before concerns started to grow about speed of recovery and when new COVID-19 outbreaks emerge.

Airline shares plunged on Friday after news of the Omicron variant broke. Low-cost group Ryanair has warned that European airlines will end the year as infection rates on the continent soar.

“There’s no avoiding the fact that there’s a lot more to climb and the coming months will be quite patchy,” said Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“But the renewed liquidity position and competitive edge mean there is some reason to be optimistic when easyJet is concerned.”

EasyJet reported a pre-tax loss of £1.14 billion ($1.52 billion) for the year to the end of September, higher than forecast and said first-quarter capacity is expected to up to about 65% of 2019 levels.

It had previously forecast 70%. However, it does not give a full financial outlook when customers book flights close to departure time, preventing clear visibility.

(1 dollar = 0.7507 pounds)

(Reporting by Kate Holton, Editing by Paul Sandle, Louise Heavens, Kirsten Donovan)

https://www.oann.com/airline-easyjet-sees-softening-in-demand-as-covid-clouds-outlook/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=airline-easyjet-sees-softening-in-demand-as-covid-clouds-outlook EasyJet airline sees demand drop as COVID cloud outlook

Bobby Allyn

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