EasyJet chief executive John Lundgren anticipates “a very good summer 2022” but called for the removal of all Covid tests on vaccinated passengers as he reported the airline’s preliminary full-year results.
It operated 58% of its 2019 capacity in the three months to September with “a stronger performance on intra-European and UK domestic routes” than international routes from the UK due to government restrictions, but its losses in the quarter more than halved year on year.
Lundgren told journalists “recovery is underway” as he confirmed easyJet is “looking to operate up to 70%” of its 2019 capacity in the final three months of this year.
But he urged the government to remove the day-two lateral flow tests due to replace the current PCR test requirement for vaccinated passengers, and he suggested Gatwick – easyJet’s biggest base – should “focus on resilience rather than expansion” as it consults on plans to use an emergency runway for scheduled flights.
Lundgren reported ski routes from the UK “doing very well since the government announcement” of relaxed test requirements and “very encouraging bookings for next summer” at easyJet Holidays, “with two times the number of bookings for summer 22 as summer 21.”
Lundgren said: “We’re scaling up for what we believe will be a very good summer 2022.”
EasyJet holidays welcomed its first customers to Egypt this week and Lundgren said: “We’re very encouraged by the performance to Egypt and Turkey. The model has proved itself.”
Yet he insisted: “We would like to operate with no restrictions. We’d like to see the government remove the lateral flow test. That is what the rest of Europe has been doing since July. We’d like to see that test go. We believe it should go [and] we believe the UK government is working towards that over the next few months.”
Asked what he thought of Gatwick’s expansion plans Lundgren said: “Gatwick should focus on the resilience of the airport. That is the key priority. Recovery and on-time performance are our priorities. When volumes are back to pre-pandemic levels Gatwick is a very busy airport. I would prioritise that rather than expansion.”