Easyjet has revealed that fewer than half of UK flights for this summer season have been booked as clients go away it late to rearrange journeys.
The funds airline mentioned capability for the normally profitable July-September interval was simply 44% offered, down from 69% in the identical interval in 2019 earlier than the pandemic.
It mentioned clients “are presently reserving a lot nearer to departure because of market circumstances” – echoing latest feedback from rival journey operator Jet 2.
Reserving charges on flights taking off or touchdown within the UK had been decrease than for intra-EU journey “as a result of uncertainty round authorities restrictions”.
“Easyjet anticipate this to enhance shortly as restrictions are lifted over the approaching interval,” the service mentioned.
The airline additionally revealed a survey suggesting public backing for COVID assessments to be scrapped for totally vaccinated travellers coming back from nations that aren’t on the “pink” locations record.
Its chief govt Johan Lundgren has constantly argued that the assessments – about £400 for a household of 4 – danger pricing atypical customers out of holidays.
The airline’s third quarter outcomes, masking the three months to the top of June, confirmed it made a headline pre-tax lack of £318m, an enchancment on the £347m loss reported throughout a interval final 12 months that coated the primary lockdown.
Easyjet mentioned it flew 17% of its pre-pandemic capability throughout the quarter, barely forward of expectations at a time when for essentially the most half its fleet was grounded, however expects to ramp this as much as 60% throughout the present fourth quarter.
That helped push shares about 2% greater in early buying and selling.
Easyjet additionally paid out an extra £122m of buyer refunds, taking the whole invoice to £1.2bn to date throughout the pandemic.
The airline mentioned it has been switching capability away “from UK-touching to EU-touching” flights this summer season – with two-thirds of bookings presently coming from Europe, in comparison with a typical 50/50 break up.
It mentioned: “On account of the present divergence in authorities journey insurance policies, easyJet’s bookings for this summer season are closely skewed in the direction of continental Europe.”
However the airline additionally mentioned it had been responding to altering UK guidelines, with 60,000 additional seats and two new routes to Malta added when it was placed on the “inexperienced” journey record and capability for “amber” record nations comparable to Portugal, Spain, Greece and Cyprus topped up when quarantine guidelines have been eased earlier this month.
“We stay assured about demand for journey this summer season and into autumn, as a result of bookings surges skilled following selective easing of journey restrictions,” easyJet mentioned.
Journey guidelines have been additional thrown into confusion final week when the federal government mentioned totally vaccinated travellers coming back from France would – in contrast to these coming from different “amber” record nations – nonetheless should quarantine on their return.