The promised take-off for easyJet and other leisure stocks hit more delays today as the airline revealed its frustration over the UK’s plans for summer holiday travel.
The Luton-based carrier now expects to fly only around 15% of 2019 capacity in the quarter to the end of June, even though it is the largest operator of flights from the UK to green list countries.
This compares with April’s guidance for a figure of up to 20%, amid continued confusion over where families can travel this summer.
Chief executive Johan Lundgren is hopeful the following quarter will be different and says the airline has the ability to flex up quickly to operate 90% of its current fleet over the peak summer period to match demand.
But the ongoing uncertainty over travel guidance and prospect of even later bookings for this summer clearly unnerved investors as shares fell back 3% or 956p. They had been 1,070p just over a week ago, compared with 487p in late October.
The group saw revenues slump 90% to £240 million in its first half results as passenger numbers tumbled 89.4% due to travel restrictions. Half-year losses were £645 million, up from £353 million a year earlier.
Shares in package holidays operator Jet2 also fell 11.5p to 1,340p while British Airways owner IAG dropped 3.4p to 191.2p in the FTSE 100 index.
The wider London market continued to show signs of steadying after the bout of inflation-led turbulence, with the top flight index down by just 2.2 points at 6,947.37 and the FTSE 250 index 21.74 points lower at 22,212.42.
Magazine publisher Future continued to set a blistering pace as the positive reaction to yesterday’s half-year results sent shares up another 8% to a fresh record of 2,850p, valuing the owner of price comparison site GoCompare at £3.2 billion.
Other risers in the FTSE 250 index included defence technology group Qinetiq, up 2.8p to 329p after reporting its largest order intake in a decade and a 14% jump in annual profits.
On AIM, estate agency group Purplebricks rose 1.5p to 98p as the extension of the government’s stamp duty holiday fuelled a stronger than expected finish to its April financial year, leading to 12% rise in instructions to 60,238 over the 12 month period.