EasyJet has seen its winter loss rise sharply to £275 million as the airline faced “tougher trading conditions” and higher costs.
In comparison, the low-cost carrier made a pre-tax loss of just £18 million during the same six-month period in 2018.
The increased loss came despite easyJet’s revenue rising by 7.3% to £2.34 billion, thanks to a 14.5% increase in capacity, which helped passenger numbers jump by 13.3% to 41.6 million for the half-year period, up to 31 March.
EasyJet said it had been affected by the “ongoing negative impact of Brexit-related market uncertainty as well as a wider macroeconomic slowdown in Europe”, with forward bookings for its third quarter running at 72% – down by three percentage points on this time last year.
The airline also faced higher fuel prices with its bill rising by £141 million year-on-year compared with the same quarter in 2018. EasyJet was also hit by the financial costs of the drone disruption at Gatwick before Christmas.
Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s chief executive said: “EasyJet has performed in line with expectations in the first half.
“I am pleased that despite tougher trading conditions, we flew more than 41 million customers, up 13% on last year, performed well operationally with 54% fewer cancellations in the period and customer satisfaction with our crew is at an all-time high.
“We have also continued to make good progress on our strategic initiatives in holidays, loyalty, business and with data.
“We are well-equipped to succeed in this more difficult market through a number of short term customer and trading initiatives for the summer; measures to improve our operational resilience; and by focusing on what is most important to customers – value for money, punctuality and great customer service.”