EasyJet halves first-quarter loss despite Omicron
LONDON, Jan 27, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - British airline EasyJet slashed losses by half in the first quarter, despite the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant which disrupted the travel industry, it said Thursday.
Pre-tax losses stood at £213 million ($288 million, 255 million euros) in the three months to the end of December, after a £423 million loss in the same period of the group's previous financial year, the no-frills carrier said in a statement.
Revenues jumped almost fivefold to £805 million in the reporting period, while cost-cutting helped offset the impact of inflation.
"EasyJet produced a significant year-on-year improvement in the first quarter, despite the short-term impact of Omicron in December, halving losses," said Chief Executive Johan Lundgren.
"During the pandemic, EasyJet has transformed many areas of the business including optimising its network and flexibility and finding sustainable cost savings. This is helping partially offset inflationary pressure."
The spread of the Omicron variant in December did hit travel bookings, but they were subsequently boosted by the UK government's recent decision to scrap Covid travel testing.
The airline, which is based in Luton north of London, now expects to return to near pre-pandemic capacity levels in the upcoming summer holiday season.
"Booking volumes jumped in the UK following the welcome reduction of travel restrictions announced on 5 January, which have been sustained and then given a further boost from the UK government's decision earlier this week to remove all testing requirements," said Lundgren.
"We believe testing for travel across our network should soon become a thing of the past."