Omicron reaches easyJet ticket sales – but airline reports ‘significant’ bounce-back

Low-cost airline easyJet has said passenger demand was hit by its Omicron variant last month, but added that bookings have fallen from the move to scrapping Covid travel tests.

The airline said Omicron saw its load factor, a measure of how well it fills its planes, to 67 percent in December, after recovering from more than 80 percent in October and November.

Despite the impact of Omicron, easyJet reduced total pre-tax losses to £213 million in the first quarter to the end of December, from £423 million a year earlier.

There has been a “step change” in bookings since the January 5 announcement that Covid pre-departure testing would be scrapped for fully vaccinated arrivals entering England, with demand further boosted by last week’s news of restriction-free travel from February 11. .

While Omicron is expected to continue to have a short-term impact on its performance in the quarter to the end of March, easyJet’s flight schedule will “step up” from just 50 percent from 2019 levels in January to near pre-pandemic levels between July and September.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “easyJet delivered a significant year-over-year improvement in the first quarter, despite Omicron’s short-term impact in December.”

EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said bookings have surged

He added: “Booking volumes have risen in the UK following the welcome reduction in travel restrictions announced on January 5, which have been maintained and then further boosted by the UK government’s decision earlier this week to lift all testing requirements to delete.

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“We believe that testing for travel through our network will soon be a thing of the past. We see a strong summer ahead, with pent-up demand driving easyJet back to near-2019 capacity levels, with UK beach and leisure routes performing particularly well.”

The airline launched a payday promotion in January with 800,000 seats from £19.99 – including during the February half-year period.

The sale will cover travel from February 1 to September 30, 2022, giving customers the option to book a last-minute winter break or plan ahead and look forward to a much-anticipated summer break.

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