EasyJet half-year loss widens on weaker pound



EasyJet has reported a larger loss for the the first half of its financial year, partly due to the impact of the lower pound and the timing of Easter.

The airline recorded a loss of £212m in the six months to March.

That compares with a loss of £21m in the same period a year ago, when Easter was in March and before the pound was hit by the Brexit vote.

However, EasyJet said its performance had been “resilient” and the losses were in line with market expectations.

Total revenue grew 3.2% to £1.827bn and it flew a record 33.8 million passengers in the six months, up 9% from a year before.

EasyJet also announced it would be launching its largest pilot recruitment drive in June, as it looks for an additional 450 pilots.

Holidays prioritised

EasyJet’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, told the BBC’s Today programme that about £80m of the loss was down to the weakness of sterling.

She said it was normal for the company to make a loss in the first half: “Nineteen out of 21 years Easyjet has lost money in the winter and actually airlines do lose money in the winter.”

Ms McCall also said that she was relatively unconcerned about the squeeze on living costs, particularly affecting the UK, where wages are growing more slowly than inflation: “British people and all Europeans value their holidays, and so they actually prioritise their holidays over everything else.

“One survey said British families were saying they would pay for a family holiday over buying kids’ clothes.”

The carrier said that bookings for the summer were ahead of last year, showing that demand to fly remains strong.

It also said that expected to meet current forecasts for its performance for the rest of the year.