EasyJet is to ramp up the number of flights it operates to 60% of pre-pandemic levels during the summer holiday season, and has added new routes including Malta in response to rising customer demand.
The low cost airline will operate up to 1,400 flights a day between July and September. On Monday, it ran 1,000 flights.
EasyJet operated 17% flights compared with the same period in 2019 in the three months to 30 June (a total of 24,682), slightly less than planned, and carried 3 million passengers. It made revenues of £212m, up from £7.2m a year earlier when its fleet was fully grounded for all but two weeks of the quarter. Its loss before tax fell by 8.2% to £318m.
EasyJet said customers are booking much closer to departure, with 49% of its summer flights booked, compared with 65% in 2019. After the UK announced the waiving of the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated passengers returning from amber list countries on 8 July, bookings surged by 400% on the previous week.
When Malta and Madeira were added to the UK’s green list of countries that do not require travellers to quarantine upon their return, easyJet put 60,000 additional seats on sale and launched two new routes, from Bristol and Luton to Malta.
EasyJet increased capacity on 74 routes from the UK to amber countries such as Spain, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus after the waiving of quarantine announcement. It has also launched 12 new UK domestic routes to plug the gap left by the failure of Stobart Air in June.
Two-thirds of easyJet’s bookings for this summer come from mainland Europe, while its business is normally split 50-50 between the UK and the rest of Europe.
The carrier has added more seats to routes from Berlin to Faro and Lisbon, from Amsterdam to Tenerife, Palma de Mallorca and Málaga, from Paris to Corsica as well as from Milan to Olbia in Sardinia and Catania and Palermo in Sicily.
EasyJet has also launched eight routes from its EU and Swiss bases to Greece that were previously operating from the UK.
After reducing costs, easyJet burned through £34m of cash every week on average in the last quarter, better than the £40m a week target given in April.
The company paid a further £122m in refunds to customers whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic, bringing the total to £1.2bn since the start of the pandemic. It has also issued vouchers worth £230m.