Airlines pin hopes on winter getaway: BA and Easyjet defy gloom after ‘better than expected’ summer sales

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Airlines have shrugged off economic doom and gloom to say they expect a drastic winter flight schedule.

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British Airways owner IAG said sales this summer were “better than expected” and there were “no signs of weakness” in the coming months.

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The group, which also owns Spain’s Iberia and Ireland’s Aer Lingus, said its passenger spending remained high.

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Flying high: British Airways owner IAG said sales this summer were ‘better than expected’ and there were ‘no signs of weakness’ in the coming months

This came despite many predicting a drop in demand for vacations as households battle rising inflation.

Meanwhile, Britain’s largest low-cost airline Easyjet said it will carry 20 million passengers in the three months to January, up 30% from last year.

Easyjet is still operating fewer flights during the holiday period than it was before Covid hit and plans to operate at just 83% of pre-pandemic levels.

But the carrier said its orders are now higher than in 2019. Easyjet’s peak periods of mid-October, Christmas and New Year’s are all operating at the same capacity levels as in 2019.

The updates have raised the likelihood of a return to normal for an industry that has been hit by two years of lockdowns and months of workforce shortages.

It also gave much-needed respite to shareholders of IAG and Easyjet, which have suffered heavy losses this year.

Easyjet shares jumped 2.7 percent, or 7.6 pence, to 292.7 pence, while IAG shares rose 8 percent, or 8.04 pence, to 108.8 pence.

Easyjet boss Johan Lundgren hailed the “record rebound” this summer and said there is “remaining demand” for next summer.

He said: “Our ‘summer 23’ went on sale last week and we were filling the equivalent of more than four A320s a minute during business hours.”

Lundgren said Easyjet returned to profit in the three months to September – usually the busiest time of the year for airlines – with up to £545 million in revenue.

During these three months, the airline carried 26.3 million passengers, which is 88% of the same period before the pandemic.

But the performance was not enough to stop the Easyjet, which has crashed for the third year since the Covid outbreak.

The short-haul carrier has suffered massive cancellations, delays and staff shortages, all following the end of a two-year travel ban.

This caused Easyjet to collapse with a loss of up to £190m in the year to September 30th, bringing total losses since the start of the pandemic to £2.5bn.

The group has faced an additional £75m of ‘disruption costs’ this year as airlines and airports struggled to cope with a surge in demand this summer when restrictions were finally lifted.

He has taken a hit of £64 million due to the soaring value of the US dollar in which he pays for many of his expenses while his income is mostly in pounds sterling.

And Easyjet said the disruptions caused by the Omicron Covid variant and the war in Ukraine resulted in losses.

Victoria Shkolar, investment director at Interactive Investor, said Easyjet has fueled pent-up demand for summer sun. But the airline could be hurt by consumer spending cuts as the cost of living rises.


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