By Anthony O. Goriainoff
EasyJet PLC said Thursday that revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 fell 88% due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that its financial performance was in line with expectations due to continued discipline and flexibility.
The U.K. budget airline said total revenue for the period was 165 million pounds ($225.9 million) compared with GBP1.42 billion for the same period a year earlier.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, the company said passenger revenue fell 90% to GBP118 million, with ancillary revenue falling 84% to GBP47 million.
The company said it anticipates a release of pent-up demand for travel, subject to continued progress on vaccinations and relaxation of government travel restrictions across Europe.
The low-cost carrier said passenger numbers in the period fell by 87% to 2.9 million, and that this was in line with an 82% fall in capacity to 4.4 million seats. Load factor--a metric that measures the percentage of available seating capacity that has been filled with passengers--fell by 26 percentage points to 66%, the company said.
EasyJet said it flew at 18% of fiscal 2019's capacity in the period, and that its capacity forecasting has been accurate and allowed for strong cost control. The airline said headline costs excluding fuel were reduced to 52% at constant currency, as savings were made in areas like airport fees, ground handling, crew and maintenance costs.
Based on current travel restrictions, in the second quarter, the company expects to fly at no more than around 10% of the capacity of the same period of 2019.
The company said customers are booking at a later stage and that visibility remains limited.
"At this stage, given the continued level of short-term uncertainty, it would not be appropriate to provide any further financial guidance for the 2021 financial year," the company said.