EasyJet Holidays is targeting more than one million passengers in its first 12 months of operation after it relaunches before Christmas.
The operator currently has an Atol licence to carry 793,874 passengers, but this can be changed at any time. Chief executive Johan Lundgren said he hoped to double “where it was before” in terms of package holiday customer numbers.
EasyJet Holidays will launch its new-look holidays division next month, offering 500 hotels for beach and city breaks in 100 destinations.
It is one of a number of operators to increase capacity in the wake of the Thomas Cook collapse. Tui grew summer capacity by two million seats, while Jet2.com added hundreds of thousands of seats for this winter and next summer.
Lundgren said the holidays division would offer “something that doesn’t exist” in the market in terms of flexibility on holiday durations.
“We are going to have massive flexibility. Some operators are flying three, four times a week – we fly three, four times a day. Customers can choose from seven days a week.”
He said the operator would “look to get more volume in fewer hotels”, which he said would “deliver fantastic value”. Lundgren was speaking after the airline reported a 26% drop in annual pre-tax profits to £427 million in a “difficult year” for the 12 months to the end of September. The downturn came despite an 8.6% rise in passenger carryings to 96.1 million.
The airline has vowed to become the world’s first major “net zero-carbon airline” by offsetting all emissions from its flights.
The move, which is expected to cost about £25 million a year, surpasses pledges by rival airlines, including British Airways, whose parent company, IAG, has pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2050.
EasyJet said it would offset carbon emissions from this week by investing in “forestry, renewable and community-based projects”.