UK low-cost carrier EasyJet expects to post a pre-tax headline loss of between £340-360 million ($423-448 million) for the six months ended March 2024.

It marks an improvement on the headline pre-tax loss of £411 million it reported for same period a year earlier and comes despite headwinds including higher fuel costs and the impact of the conflict in the Middle East.

EasyJet aircraft at Luton airport Oct 2021

Source: Graham Dunn/FlightGlobal

EasyJet flew 19.3 million passengers between January and March 2024

”Our growth and focus on productivity have reduced winter losses by more than £50 million,” EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said in a trading statement on 18 April. 

“We have further enhanced our network with the launch of new bases in Alicante and Birmingham providing greater choice for consumers across Europe.”

EasyJet has only once previously posted a profit in its low-season fiscal first half, but has been upbeat that a network overhaul and strong demand would enable it to operate more profitability over the winter months. 

However, the carrier last year flagged that its efforts to reduce losses would be hit in the three months to December 2023 because of the Gaza conflict, as it impacted around 4% of its capacity. It estimates it took a hit of £40 million in the first half as a result of the conflict and the need to redeploy capacity.

While in keeping with other many carriers EasyJet has again suspended its Israel flights following heightened tension with Iran, this only represented 0.3% of its summer flying and this capacity has been redeployed.

Another element of its strategy to reduce winter losses is the carrier’s holiday business, which delivered an improved pre-tax profit of £31 million and a 79% increase in revenues in the first half.

This helped contribute to a 22% jump in group revenues in the first half to £3.27 billion.

EasyJet increased passenger numbers 8% during the second quarter, carrying 19.3 million customers. It recorded a load factor of 87%, down one percentage point on the same period last year.

EasyJet says bookings for its key summer season in 2024 ”continue to build well”, reporting an increase in volume and pricing compared to the same period last year.

“We are well set up operationally for this summer season where we expect EasyJet to be one of the fastest growing major airlines in Europe and take more customers on EasyJet holidays than ever before,” says Lundgren.

EasyJet expects to increase capacity 8% over the second half of the year, in part driven by its move to higher-gauge Airbus narrowbodies as its phases out A319s in favour of A320/A321neos. Earlier this month the airline took its 400th aircraft.