EasyJet expects capacity near pre-pandemic levels this summer

Europe’s second biggest discount carrier has seen a turnaround in its business

EasyJet expects capacity to rise to near pre-pandemic levels this summer as the easing of travel restrictions lets loose pent-up demand.

The Luton, England-based carrier estimates its loss narrowed to as much as £565 million (€676m) for the first half that ended March 31st. The flying schedule for the current quarter will be about 90 per cent of 2019 levels, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Europe’s second biggest discount carrier has seen a turnaround in its business after the UK lifted travel restrictions earlier this year. That has created a new set of challenges as the company struggles to ramp up capacity and deal with renewed Covid-19 outbreaks among staff.

"EasyJet has seen a strong recovery in trading which has been sustained, resulting in a positive outlook for Easter and beyond," chief executive officer Johan Lundgren said in the statement, with "booking volumes for summer currently tracking ahead of those at the same time in FY19".

EasyJet and larger rival British Airways have had to cancel flights over the Easter holiday period, with airports also contending with resource and staffing shortages.

The other major challenge has been fuel prices, which have surged since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. EasyJet said it had hedged 64 per cent of its fuel requirements for the six months ending in September at $571 per metric ton, about half of the market price. – Bloomberg