Easyjet said it was already experiencing the effects of the Omicron variant as it released full year results in which it recorded a £1.1bn pre-tax loss.
Easyjet said it had been experiencing transfers of bookings for Q1 and a ‘softening’ of trading for the immediate future, but were optimistic for the rest of the year.
On a more positive note, Easyjet’s results were ahead of expectations and the balance sheet is robust.
COVID ravaged Easyjet’s ability to generate cash over the past year, leading to a focus on cost savings that helped keep cash burn to £36 million per week, below the expected £40 million.
“easyJet is moving through the pandemic with renewed strength having transformed the business by optimising our network and flexibility, delivering significant cost savings while also step-changing ancillary revenue,” said Johan Lundgren, easyJet Chief Executive.
Nonetheless, Easyjets cash saving drive was not enough to prevent a whopping £1.1 billion loss to add to £1.3 billion recorded last year.
Despite a dismal year for Easyjet, analysts were looking forward to next year and the potential for a bumper summer, assuming COVID is under control by then.
“While EasyJet’s £1.1 billion pre-tax loss makes for uncomfortable reading, that’s the stark reality of the airline industry at present. Capacity remains restrained as travel restrictions have prevented airline operators from truly being able to make the most of the post-lockdown pent-up demand from consumers to get outside and see the world again,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.
“The airline sector saw a flurry of activity this summer and then again during the October half term as travel restrictions began to ease and consumers felt more comfortable flying. A lot of people will have missed their usual summer foreign holiday for two years in a row so there is a feeling that summer 2022 could be a bumper period for companies like EasyJet.”