EasyJet is preparing for a strong summer, but the airline says it will lose £40 million this winter because of conflict in the Middle East.
In a trading update, easyJet said a 48% increase in customer numbers helped tour operation easyJet holidays boost its pre-tax profits for the last three months of 2023 to £30m.
it expects easyJet holidays to see further customer growth of 35% year-on-year during 2024.
EasyJet cut its pre-tax losses for the three months to 31 December 2023 to £126m, down from £133m in the same three months of 2022.
However, it expects to lose £40m this winter as a direct impact of the Middle East conflict.
EasyJet said: “The onset of conflict in the Middle East on 7 October had short term impacts from a pause in flights to Israel and Jordan (which currently remains in place) and a temporary slowdown in flight bookings for the wider industry.
“EasyJet’s seasonal winter loss for the first half of FY24 is also expected to improve year-on-year despite a direct impact of c.£40 million (and further indirect impacts) from the conflict in the Middle East.”
EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said: “We delivered an improved performance in the quarter which is testament to the strength of demand for our brand and network. The popularity of easyJet holidays also continues to grow, with 48% more customers in the period.
“We see positive booking momentum for summer 2024 with travel remaining a priority for consumers.
“Flight and holidays bookings took off strongly during the traditional busy turn of year sales period, as customers opted to secure their summer holidays to firm favourites like Spain and Portugal alongside destinations further afield like Greece and Turkey.”
EasyJet holidays said Spain accounts for over a quarter of all summer 2024 beach sales. The Algarve, Crete, Rhodes, Turkey and Tunisia are also selling well.
Families have made up over a third of easyJet holidays beach bookings, while over 70% of sales were for four- or five-star properties. All-inclusive remains the most popular, with over 60% of beach bookers opting for this board basis.