EasyJet expects to make a loss of between £815 million and £845 million for the 2020 financial year due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis – the first annual loss in the airline’s 25-year history.
The Luton-based carrier made the trading update on Thursday (8 October) following the end of its financial year on 30 September 2020 – the projected loss compares to a pre-tax profit of £427 million in 2019, which at the time was seen as being a “difficult year” for easyJet.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: "At the beginning of this year, no one could have imagined the impact the pandemic has had on the industry.
“EasyJet has adapted and risen to the challenges presented by the pandemic by taking decisive actions to minimise losses, bolster liquidity and reduce cash burn while launching a major restructuring programme, having completed the UK consultation and commenced consultations in a number of key countries.”
Lundgren added that due to current travel restrictions, the airline only plans to run 25% of originally scheduled capacity for the quarter between October and December.
“But we retain the flexibility to ramp up capacity quickly when we see demand return and early booking levels for summer ’21 are in line with previous years,” he said.
“Aviation continues to face the most severe threat in its history and the UK government urgently needs to step up with a bespoke package of measures to ensure airlines are able to support economic recovery when it comes.
"EasyJet came into this crisis in a very strong position thanks to its strong balance sheet and consistent profitability. This year will be the first time in its history that easyJet has ever made a full-year loss.”
During the 2020 financial year, easyJet passenger numbers were down 50% year-on-year to 48 million following a capacity reduction of 48% to 55 million seats.
The airline only carried 9.4 million passengers during the key peak months of July, August and September as it operated only 38% of its originally planned capacity.
EasyJet’s financial results for 2020 will be announced on 17 November.