EasyJet Plc. shares surged the most since March after the carrier said strong bookings continued into the second quarter and the crucial summer months, underscoring how the aviation industry is staging a comeback from the pandemic despite persistent cost-of-living concerns among consumers.
The discount airline said it expects to beat market expectations for the full year, which now stand at pretax profit of £126 million for the period. The loss for the first half will also be significantly better than the figure reported in the same period last year, EasyJet said.
EasyJet’s rose as much as 12% after the earnings release, leading gains among other discount airlines. Ryanair Holdings Plc rose 3.9% in Dublin, while Wizz Air Holdings Plc gained 8.3%.
“As you look into the second quarter and beyond, we see continued strong booking momentum as customers prioritize spending on their holidays,” Chief Executive Officer Johan Lundgren said on a call. “We are seeing slower capacity increases from legacy airlines, enabling EasyJet to continue growing at our primary airports.”
In the first quarter, the airline flew 20.2 million seats, and EasyJet projected the figure will reach 38 million in the first half and rise to 56 million in the second half of their fiscal year, which runs through September. The company reported a pretax loss of £133 million in the first quarter, down from a deficit of £213 million a year earlier.
Discount carriers have said they continue to see strong demand even as rampant inflation and a surging cost of living squeezes potential passengers across Europe. Last week, market leader Ryanair said strong demand across Europe and the UK drove its best ever sales.
“Airline reporting season starts optimistically, and we expect EasyJet to be the first of several strong prints,” Bernstein analysts Alex Irving said in a note. “Earlier guidance looks overly cautious and numbers will need to come up.”
EasyJet said its holiday-booking subsidiary is also performing better than expected, leading the company to upgrade its growth plans for the year for the business.