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Easyjet ups expected Jul-Sep flight capacity to 40% of pre-coronavirus plans

Highlights

Forecast raised from 30% announced end-June

Bookings for rest of summer higher than expected

Swings to Apr-Jun pre-tax loss of GBP324.5 mil from GBP174.2 mil profit

London — Easyjet now expects to increase flight capacity to 40% of pre-coronavirus planned capacity in the fourth quarter of its October-September fiscal year, up from the 30% forecast at the end of June, the UK-listed low-cost airline said in a trading update August 4.

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"Our bookings for the remainder of the summer are performing better than expected and as a result we have decided to expand our schedule over the fourth quarter to fly circa 40% of capacity," Easyjet CEO Johan Lundgren said.

After grounding its entire fleet of planes at the end of March, at the height of the coronavirus crisis in Europe, Easyjet restarted its commercial flying program on June 15 with 10 aircraft initially, flying a predominantly domestic schedule in the UK, France and Italy.

"Demand is being assessed on a daily basis with updated schedules being reviewed every two weeks based on our forecasts of demand and contribution. Following expected improvements in demand and a further relaxing of government travel restrictions, the July schedule was increased to 147 lines of flying," the airline said, adding that August flying was now expected to increase further to around 210 lines.

Looking at passenger numbers, Easyjet flew 117,000 passengers with a load factors of 88.9% in fiscal Q3, compared with 26.38 million passengers and a load factor of 91.7% a year earlier. Most Easyjet flights are short-haul routes.

The airline did not provide any financial guidance for the rest of the fiscal year, after reporting a Q3 pre-tax loss of GBP324.5 million ($423.8 million) compared with a pre-tax profit of GBP174.2 million a year earlier.