EasyJet says it is “uniquely placed” to take advantage of a reduction in competitor capacity.
In its results statement for the first quarter, ended 31 December, the airline said due to its network of primary airports and “trusted brand”, it was uniquely placed to take advantage of “the material reduction in competitor capacity at our key bases”.
“We continue to invest in the right opportunities – we are growing at Gatwick and will have a record 71 aircraft based there this summer, and our initiatives in ancillaries and easyJet holidays are expected to generate material opportunities for future profit growth.”
The airline also highlighted its ability to “ramp up” capacity when demand returns, claiming 65% of Europeans plan to make a travel booking in 2021.
EasyJet said its research conducted among 5,000 European consumers between 8-20 January showed that 65% plan to make a travel booking in 2021, with existing easyJet customers even more likely to travel, rising to almost three quarters planning a trip this year.
“We retain the flexibility to rapidly ramp up to capture that demand,” it said.
“Subject to continued progress on vaccinations, together with the future relaxation of government travel restrictions across Europe, we are anticipating a release of pent-up demand for travel,” the airline said.
Total group revenue for the quarter decreased by 88% to £165 million. Passenger revenue decreased by 90% to £118 million and ancillary revenue decreased by 84% to £47 million.
Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive, said: “Our performance in the period was in line with management expectations, despite more stringent restrictions coming into place.
“We have taken the right actions to emerge leaner with a reduced cost base and the retrenchment of legacy carriers at key airports will provide additional opportunities for easyJet.
“Our core strengths remain unaffected by the pandemic – we have loyal customers who know and trust our brand, an unmatched network, offer value for money and a leading position on sustainability with high customer satisfaction.
“The key to unlocking travel is going to be the vaccination programmes combined with governments progressively removing restrictions when it is safe.
“And in the meantime, our flexible industry-leading policies mean that customers can make plans and book with confidence.”