Low-cost airline EasyJet has swung to a half-year loss after recent terror attacks saw some passengers stay away and rivals stepped up the pace of competition.
The no-frills carrier posted losses of £24 million for the six months to the end of March against profits of £7m a year earlier, but said its bottom line was hit by a £33m foreign exchange rate impact.
It said sales suffered in the wake of November’s deadly attacks in Paris, which knocked 2.7 per cent off revenues per seat in the first half, while the suspension of flights on routes to the popular Egyptian tourist destination of Sharm el-Sheikh following the Russian airliner crash reduced revenues by another 1.3 per cent.
Half-year revenues per seat were left 6.6 per cent lower overall at £51.29 and EasyJet warned that trading would remain tough in its third quarter as demand continues to be impacted by the terrorist bombing at Brussels airport in March, which killed 16 people.
It said the decline in revenues per seat would worsen, to a fall of about 7 per cent, with the early timing of Easter also taking its toll in the third quarter.
The group is likewise battling against increased competition from rivals such as Ryanair, with the sharp falls in the price of oil seeing a surge in low-cost travel as fares fall across the board.
But the group said it was a robust performance against difficult conditions, with consumers remaining “resilient”.
Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “EasyJet has delivered a robust financial performance during the half year despite the well-publicised external events.
“Consumers have enjoyed lower fares, which have decreased by 6 per cent year-on-year, the second successive year of falling fares, as the benefits of lower fuel costs are passed on to passengers. Active cost control by the airline has helped maintain margins.”
She added: “We are confident that over the full year we will again grow passenger numbers, revenue and profit.”