“While the numbers make for predictably ugly reading, easyJet has been agile in reshaping its business where possible.
With the entire fleet grounded for 11 weeks during the initial wave of the pandemic, and with any number of country-specific travelling restrictions limiting recovery since, the effects on the numbers have been severe.
Overall revenues declined by 53%, passenger numbers by 50% and capacity by 47.5%. The effects of the pandemic have also exposed the thin margins on which the airline was operating, and these have unsurprisingly plunged into negative territory, with revenues per seat decreasing by almost 11% to £54.35, and exacerbated by a 21.7% increase in cost per seat to £69.03.
The headline loss of £835 million is within the previously guided range of between £815 and £845 million, while the reported pre-tax loss of £1.27 billion compares with a profit of £430 million in the previous year. Cash burn reduced from the previous quarter’s £774 million, but at £651 million nonetheless remains a constant and significant drain on the company’s resources.
Inevitably easyJet feels unable to give guidance for the forthcoming year in light of the ongoing uncertainty. In the shorter term, it expects to be flying at just 20% of planned capacity for the first quarter of the new financial year, down from the 38% of the fourth quarter as the traditionally quieter winter months kick in, let alone any other restrictions.