Express & Star

easyJet reveals bumper package holiday profits – but has been hit by fuel costs and war in Middle East

Budget airline easyJet has revealed bumper package holiday profits, but has been hit by fuel costs and war in the Middle East.


Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

The airliner saw interim pre-tax profits at its holidays arm more than treble to £31 million and predicted full-year profits at the burgeoning division to rise by around 40 per cent to more than £170 million.

It grew its flight programme by 12 per cent in the first half and flew 11 per cent more passengers at 36.7 million.

Birmingham Airport became easyJet’s first new base in the UK in more than a decade in March, creating 140 direct jobs for pilots and crew in the UK and supporting around 1,200 jobs in total.

A new route to Berlin is among 16 new routes that have launched from Birmingham following the base opening, including Alicante, Tenerife and Barcelona which are already operating as well as a year-round route to Sharm el Sheikh.

Overall, the group reported a headline pre-tax loss of £350 million for the six months to March 31, narrowed from losses of £411 million a year ago, and forecast strong profits growth for the full year.

The firm's half-year figures showed losses narrowed to £350 million for the six months to March despite a £40 million hit due to the war between Israel and Hamas, which saw flights suspended to Israel and Jordan, alongside a softening of demand for trips to Egypt since the conflict began in October. It forecasts strong profits growth for the full year.

An early Easter helped offset the impact in the first half, when seasonal demand for air travel means airlines often record losses in the winter followed by profits in the summer.

The results were released as it was revealed boss Johan Lundgren will step down in 2025 after seven years at the helm.

The carrier said Mr Lundgren, who became chief executive in December 2017, will leave early next year and will be succeeded by chief financial officer Kenton Jarvis, who has been with the group since February 2021.

EasyJet chairman Sir Stephen Hester said: "We are sad that Johan will retire from easyJet.

"He has done an excellent job as our chief executive since December 2017, steering the company through the immense challenges of the Covid period, and setting up a clear strategy and strong execution plan."

He added that his successor Mr Jarvis had "impressed since joining easyJet in 2021, is fully bought in to the plan and will hit the ground running".

Mr Lundgren said: "There are important things still to accomplish over the balance of the year, but when the time comes I will leave easyJet with a great sense of loyalty and of pride at the progress made and the potential the company has for the future."

EasyJet said that, other than the suspension of flights in response to the Middle East conflict, disruption in the first half of the year was considerably improved compared to the first half of 2023, which saw widespread industrial action impacting air traffic control and other flight services.

It said bookings were on track for the summer season, with around 77 per cent of its third quarter programme sold and around 39 per cent of the peak period sold.

But it said fuel costs jumped 18 per cent higher in the half-year to £914 million and cautioned that the "price of jet fuel remains high due to global demand, and supply instability from geopolitical events".

Mr Lundgren said: "We are now absolutely focused on another record summer which is expected to deliver strong full-year earnings growth."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.