EasyJet braces for turbulence after ‘difficult’ quarter

EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall. Picture: Jane Barlow
EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall. Picture: Jane Barlow
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EasyJet today said it was confident of navigating its way through stormy skies after passenger confidence was knocked by political turmoil in Turkey and recent terrorist attacks.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said the group had faced “difficult” trading during its third quarter amid air traffic control strikes, runway closures at London Gatwick, severe weather and the Brexit vote.

READ MORE: EasyJet flags £28m profit hit amid EU vote uncertainty

Holidaymaker confidence has also been impacted by sterling’s weakness as well as last week’s massacre in Nice and the attempted coup in popular sun-seeker destination Turkey.

EasyJet revenues dropped 2.6 per cent to £1.2 billion during the three months to the end of June, and MCall said: “The economic and operating environment has been difficult in the third quarter due to a number of factors including air traffic strikes and other industrial action, runway closures at London Gatwick and severe weather.

“These factors combined with industry capacity growth in short-haul continue to have an impact on industry yields at a peak time of year. More recently, currency volatility as a result of the UK’s referendum decision to leave the EU, as well as the recent events in Turkey and Nice, continue to impact customer confidence.”

But McCall added: “The EasyJet business model remains robust, with a strong cash position, solid balance sheet and a flexible fleet plan. The EasyJet team is confident in its ability to navigate the period ahead and drive long-term advantage.”

The carrier is also drawing up plans to potentially move its legal headquarters out of the UK and into Europe if the UK government cannot negotiate to retain the status quo in the aviation market, which allows operators to fly across the continent in a deregulated environment.