EasyJet is eyeing more routes from Scotland – where it says it is the largest airline – and expects a strong market north of the Border for the relaunched package holiday business it unveiled today.
The budget airline hopes to make progress in 2020 through the launch of EasyJet Holidays before Christmas, which it says will offer beach and city holidays through its network.
It added that it expects the new platform to break even in the 2020 financial year, and comes as it looks to increase customer numbers following the collapse of major competitor Thomas Cook.
The airline also announced plans to become the first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights. “We’re the first major airline to do it… we think it’s a bold move,” UK director Neil Slaven told The Scotsman.
EasyJet reported a 26 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £427 million for the 12 months to 30 September, which marked a robust finish to the year after a “challenging” first half and record profits in the second. “Good momentum, there, heading into 2020,” Slaven said. Meanwhile, revenues jumped by 8.3 per cent to £6.4 billion on the back of increased capacity.
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Slaven also welcomed record passenger numbers in the year of 96.1 million. However, total revenue per seat decreased by 1.8 per cent to £60.81, as the company blamed weaker confidence due to “uncertainty” surrounding Brexit.
Headline costs per seat increased by 1.5 per cent to £56.74 as higher fuel costs and adverse foreign exchange rates squeezed profitability.
The airline in Scotland operates from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness – and flagged good domestic growth in the first two of these. It is also the largest airline at Edinburgh Airport, and is launching a connection between Birmingham and Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Slaven said Scotland has always been a big focus for the airline, but has had “renewed” focus from EasyJet recently. “We’re looking at growth in Scotland, we’ve announced new routes, we’re allocating new aircraft, really reinforcing our position as Scotland’s largest airline.”
He added that the carrier has increased capacity to Turkey from Edinburgh over the year by more than 6 per cent, for example, and from Scotland is harnessing growing appetite for routes to Amsterdam and Geneva. “We’re always looking at new destinations… and hopefully we’ll be in a position to announce more new route launches from Scotland in the near future.”