Jet2 plc says it expects to post a loss of between £375 million to £385 million for the full year to 31 March 2021 owing to the Covid crisis.
This compares to 2019/20 full-year group profit of £264.2 million said the airline and operator in a trading update issued on Tuesday (27 April).
The firm said it took swift and decisive action to raise nearly £1 billion in additional liquidity to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, as well as to limit cash burn and preserve funds.
"As a result, our liquidity position is strong," said Jet2. It also said current booking trends were strong for winter 2021/22 and summer 2022, and that customers were likely to continue booking much closer to departure in the short-term.
Total cash as of 31 March came to £1.38 billion, and own cash – excluding advance customer deposits – to £1.06 billion, more than double the £520 million it had banked at the end of the 2019/20 financial year.
Jet2’s cash position comes despite returning more than £1.3 billion in customer deposits due to the pandemic.
Looking ahead, Jet2 said it was encouraged by the continuing "successful rollout" of Covid-19 vaccines in the UK, and "increasing momentum" in Europe – home to its core destinations.
Jet2 said while it welcomed the government’s intention to restart international travel in mid-May, the 9 April report of the Global Travel Taskforce – which set out the parameters for the resumption – contained a "disappointing lack of clarity", particularly on the categorisation of destinations under a new traffic light system and the full details and cost of testing.
"This means the impact and duration of the proposed Covid-19 travel restrictions for summer 2021 remain difficult to determine and due to this continued uncertainty, in fairness to all our stakeholders and especially our customers, we took the difficult decision to extend the suspension of our flights and holidays from 17 May up to and including 23 June, by which time we are expecting more clarity."
Jet2 said given the current short-term uncertainty, it was unsurprising customers were booking "significantly closer" to departure for summer 2021 getaways.
"However, we continue to be encouraged by the volume of customer bookings for both winter 2021/22 and for summer 2022, for which package holiday bookings are displaying a materially higher mix of the total," said Jet2.
The company added its airline and operator had both demonstrated high levels of operational flexibility over the past 12 months, and would continue to respond quickly to evolving market conditions as travel restrictions change.