Jet2 ‘optimistic’ for summer 2022 as £373.8m annual loss reported

Jet2 reported an annual loss of £373.8 million in a period of “unparalleled operational and financial challenges” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This compared to a pre-pandemic profit of almost £265 million in the previous financial year.

The group has a total cash balance of £1.9 billion after having processed over £1.4 billion in refunds to customers since the pandemic began.

The UK’s second largest travel group accessed £1 billion in additional funding through shareholder and bank support last year to combat the impact.

Releasing results for the 12 months to March 31, the company said extensive international travel restrictions led to aircraft being fully grounded for 29 weeks with only a significantly reduced programme when flying was permitted.

Single sector passenger numbers fell 91% year-on-year from 14.62 million to 1.32 million, with package holiday numbers down 90%.

However, the company said: “We believe opportunities for a financially strong, resilient and trusted operators will only increase.”

Package holiday bookings showing a “materially higher mix” of the total “are encouraging”.

Jet2 chairman Philip Meeson said: “Though the continuing successful rollout of vaccines in the UK and the momentum in Europe are encouraging, the first three months of the new financial year have seen little change in the significant challenges facing the leisure travel industry.

“The government’s Global Travel Task Force report in early April was disappointing as it lacked depth and detail, whilst the subsequent ‘traffic light system’ only served to confuse rather than clarify for consumers.

“However, the recent announcement of an expanded ‘green watch list’ and the potential relaxing of restrictions for those who are double vaccinated to be able to travel to amber list destinations without having to quarantine on return, was a welcome step in the right direction, demonstrating that the UK government is committed to reopening international travel.”

Group performance for the financial year to March 2022 is “very much dependent” on the level of flying permitted for the remainder of this summer and performance in the second half, “periods for which we still have limited visibility”.

Meeson added: “Unsurprisingly given the continuing short-term uncertainty, customers are booking significantly closer to departure for summer ‘21 and, although bookings to date for winter ‘21/22 are satisfactory, they have slowed more recently given the ongoing speculation around international travel.

“Bookings for summer ‘22, for which package holiday bookings are displaying a materially higher mix of the total, are encouraging and with the vaccination progress being made, we are optimistic that summer ‘22 will be a considerable improvement on both summer ‘20 and summer ‘21.”

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