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EasyJet on track to reduce annual losses after record rebound in demand

A record rebound in travel demand over the summer is expected to help easyJet significantly cut its annual losses after seeing sales more than double during its peak season.

The airline said it expects to make underlying pre-tax profits of between £470m and £490m in its final quarter to September 30 as passenger numbers surged to 24m and revenue jumped to around £2.5bn from £1bn a year ago. .

It reported resilient demand despite the cost of living crisis, with its flight schedule during the weeks of October and Christmas returning to levels seen before the pandemic.

The group plans to fly 20 million seats in the last three months of 2022 – up 30% from a year ago – as it added it was already seeing demand for next summer .

The carrier insisted efforts to deal with staff shortages and disruptions meant its operational performance since early July was now better than in the last quarter before Covid hit.

It comes after holidaymakers were hit by flight delays and cancellations as well as long queues as airports struggled to cope with the sudden increase in demand for holidays abroad.

Airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick have asked airlines to cut flight times following scenes of chaos as understaffing left them struggling with baggage handling, air traffic control and security. security.

EasyJet said it recorded around £200million in disruption costs in the year after the airport’s recent woes, compared to £126million in 2020-21.

But it is still on track to reduce overall losses for the year as a whole to between £170m and £190m, down from £1.14bn the previous year.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said: “EasyJet delivered a record rebound this summer with fourth quarter operating profit expected to be between £525m and £545m and passenger numbers nearly doubling. compared to last summer at 24 million.”

He added: “Our Summer 23 season went on sale last week and we were filling the equivalent of over four A320s per minute during opening hours, demonstrating continued demand.”

Mr Lundgren flagged an “uncertain” wider economic backdrop, but said “easyJet is Europe’s largest operator at major airports with one of the strongest balance sheets in the aviation industry”.