Low-cost carrier easyJet has slumped to the first ever full-year loss in its 25-year history as the coronavirus crisis sent it nosediving into the red by £1.27 billion (€1.42 billion).
The group’s pre-tax loss for the year to September 30th comes after passenger numbers halved to 48.1 million as the pandemic crippled the aviation industry.
It warned it expects to fly no more than around 20 per cent of planned services in the first quarter of its year to next September as a relentless second wave of the pandemic batters demand.
EasyJet’s losses compare with profits of £430 million the previous year.
On an underlying basis, easyJet reported pre-tax losses of £835 million against profits of £427 million the previous year, which was in line with expectations.
Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive, said the group had responded “robustly and decisively” to the crisis and cheered “welcome news” on a possible Covid-19 vaccine.
He said: “While we expect to fly no more than 20% of planned capacity for the first quarter of 2021, maintaining our disciplined approach to cash generative flying over the winter, we retain the flexibility to rapidly ramp up when demand returns.
“We know our customers want to fly with us and underlying demand is strong.”
He added the group expected to “bounce back strongly”.