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FTSE 250: EasyJet bookings soar despite higher ticket prices

Easyjet Aircraft.
EasyJet bookings jump as Brits start holidaying again. Photo: PA/Alamy

EasyJet (EZJ.L) said bookings for next year were looking positive, with customers accepting higher ticket prices despite the cost of living crisis.

The group posted underlying pre-tax losses of £178m for the 12 months to September 30 against losses of £1.1bn the previous year.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive, said: "EasyJet has achieved a record bounce back this summer with a performance which underlines that our transformation is delivering.

EasyJet is hiking ticket prices, with prices looking “strong” for next Easter, though it hopes its budget offering will help it weather the cost of living crisis.

For the current winter period, the airline said Christmas ticket yields were up about 18% amid strong demand for travel.

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"EasyJet does well in tough times. Legacy carriers will struggle in this high-cost environment. Consumers will protect their holidays but look for value and across its primary airport network, easyJet will be the beneficiary as customers vote with their wallets,” Lundgren added.

Easyjet shares were down during early Tuesday trading.

“Wizz Air and Ryanair did a much better job of forward planning last year for the this Summer’s holidays while EasyJet adopted a wait-and-see mentality," Olly Anibaba, airlines analyst at Third Bridge, said.

“EasyJet is struggling to compete on costs and fares with Wizz Airline and Ryanair. Our experts say that it’s proving difficult for EasyJet to expand in markets where there is already an abundance of capacity, such as Milan.

“The cost of living crisis is bound to have a significant impact on 2023 summer holiday bookings. Typically families will forgo, reduce, or postpone larger discretionary commitments to protect everyday luxuries.”

EasyJet said it notched up its best ever earnings for a single quarter over the summer quarter, at £674 million on an underlying basis, as the ending of pandemic travel restrictions put overseas holidays firmly back on the agenda.

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But the group cautioned over “market wide” cost pressures and said it first half fuel price was set to be more than 50% higher year on year due to soaring inflation.

Full-year passenger numbers jumped 242% to 69.7 million with an 85.5% load factor, compared to just 20.4 million with a 72.5% load factor on the pandemic-hit previous year.

EasyJet did not declare a dividend.

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