EasyJet have said customers were happier with service over the summer than they were in 2019, before the travel chaos following pandemic lockdowns, despite reporting a loss.
Customer satisfaction indicators “exceeded pre-pandemic levels over the peak summer”, the easyJet’s CEO, Johan Lundgren, said as part of the company’s end of year trading update.
There were fewer on the day cancellations of easyJet flights over the July to September period compared to the same months in 2019 the update said.
Since the worst of the travel disruptions from April to June, easyJet reported improved management and operations after it said they took action to minimise the disruption.
“Since the start of July, easyJet’s operations normalised,” the update read. “Some specific areas of the wider European airline industry continue to have some ongoing challenges outside of easyJet’s control, for example air traffic control.”
Disruptions, including cancelled flights, came amid soaring consumer demand, post-pandemic lower staff levels, industrial action and staff testing positive for COVID-19.
The budget airline said it flew 26.3 million passengers, fewer people than before the COVID-19 pandemic, during the months of July, August and September this year. During that period easyJet flew 88% of the capacity than it had in 2019.
Ticket sales for summer 2023 have been strong as Mr Lundgren said easyJet “were filling the equivalent of more than four A320 aircraft a minute” in the opening hours of sales in early October.
In the three months in the run up to Christmas this year easyJet said it is going to fly 30% more people than during the peak periods of the year. The airline expects to fly around 20 million seats from October to the end of December.
Despite having fewer seats filled over the three months than in 2019 easyJet had profits in line with the same period. Operating profit for the three months is expected to be between £525m and £545m .
Overall, however, the airline said it expected the loss for the full financial year to be between £170 million and £190 million.
That loss includes a £64 million foreign exchange loss from balance sheet revaluations and disruption costs of £75
million, mainly incurred from operational issues experienced across the airline industry from April to June, the update read.
The company detailed the money it lost from July to September due to the weak pound and strong dollar. A loss of £30 million as “financing costs were impacted by the strengthening USD (US dollar)”.
During September the pound dipped to its lowest ever level against the dollar which made it more costly to import things in dollars to the UK.
It’s unlikely payments will be made to easyJet shareholders as the company board will not be recommending such payments for the 2022 financial year.