EasyJet to lay bare impact of yo-yo travel restrictions and quarantine rules

Budget airline EasyJet will this week lay bare the impact of pandemic travel bans and constantly changing guidance as it updates the market on recent trading, or lack of.

The carrier had been hoping that a relaxation of travel restrictions would offer it some semblance of a summer. However, recent government changes and new quarantine rules have caused fresh turbulence for the group, which is famous for its bold white and orange branding and no-frills offering.

Releasing its first-half results in May, EasyJet said passenger numbers for the six months to the end of March had plunged 89.4 per cent to 4.1 million, compared with a year earlier. It said at the time that it had been encouraged by the reopening of travel across much of Europe and would “maximise opportunities for European flying”.

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This week’s update should provide an indication of third-quarter trading.

This week’s EasyJet update should provide an indication of third-quarter trading. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Laura Hoy, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, the financial services group, said: “When we last heard from EasyJet, the group was flying high on hopes that the relaxed travel restrictions would offer the group some semblance of a summer.

“Fast forward a few weeks, and between the government’s yo-yo travel restrictions and new quarantine rules for Brits in many European countries, we’re wondering if EasyJet’s outlook has been lowered.

“EasyJet had expected to fly 15 per cent of 2019 capacity between April and June, but Portugal exiting the green list during that time probably dented the group’s forecast. However, with several of EasyJet’s destinations now on the green list, we’re keen to know how bookings are progressing for the all-important summer travel season.”

She added: “We suspect everyone’s ready to shrug off restrictions and travel, but question whether the threat of a sudden change to quarantine rules is weighing on passenger confidence. With more routes available, EasyJet will be ramping up capacity and filling its planes.

“Passenger revenue was down 91 per cent last quarter, but we should hopefully see some improvement in the latest results.”

Last summer, Easyjet said it remained committed to its operations in Scotland, despite announcing “very difficult” plans to axe hundreds of jobs and close some of its bases.

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