Budget airline EasyJet suffers £218m year-on-year loss

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EASYJET HAS posted a higher than expected half-year loss but said summer bookings were up and consumers were still keen to splash out on getaways.

Shares fell 7.3% on the very disappointing and unexpected result – which was heavily impacted by the slump in the value of the pound after the Brexit vote.

The £236m loss reported by the low-cost carrier for the six months to the end of March compared with £18m in the same period last year.

But chief executive Carolyn McCall said summer bookings were up and that there was evidence of consumers prioritising spending on flights over other non-essential purchases.

The half-year loss was partly blamed on a currency impact of £82m and a £45m hit from the late timing of Easter.

Revenue climbed 3% to £1.83bn as passenger numbers grew 9% to 33.8 million but revenue per seat was lower.

That was partly thanks to EasyJet’s continuing expansion across Europe and disruption due to factors including strikes and severe weather resulting in more than 3,000 flight cancellations.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “Easyjet delivered a resilient performance during the winter months. Our bookings for the summer are ahead of last year showing that demand to fly remains strong and reflects growing evidence that consumers are prioritising expenditure on flights and holidays above other non-essential items.”

The half-year loss covers the winter period when many travel operators struggle to make a profit.

It comes a day after Thomson and First Choice owner Tui warned the UK was facing tougher times ahead and reported slowing growth in sales to British holidaymakers.

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