EasyJet reported widening losses as it continued to battle Brexit-related sterling weakness and prepare itself for the UK´s imminent EU withdrawal.
An adverse currency impact from the weaker pound as well as the later timing of Easter more than offset rising passenger numbers.
At the same time, the budget airline said it was progressing its plans to establish a new licensed base within the EU to ensure it can continue to operate in a post-Brexit world.
Losses for the six months to the end of March 2017 jumped to £236m compared with £18m in the same period of the prior year. This was despite passenger numbers actually increasing to a record 33.8m.
EasyJet, however, claimed the losses were in line with market expectations citing both weak sterling and the fact that Easter had fallen outside the reporting period. The airline pays for its fuel in US dollars, with the cost having risen given the pound´s depreciation.
It puts restructuring costs surrounding its plans to set up a new EU hub to prepare for Brexit at £10m.
Strong summer bookings
Carolyn McCall, easyJet Chief Executive said expectations for the full year were in line with market consensus estimates.
“Our bookings for the summer are ahead of last year showing that demand to fly remains strong and reflects growing evidence that consumers are prioritising expenditure on flights and holidays above other non-essential items,” added McCall.
EasyJet shares were down by over 5% in early trading. The median analyst share price target for the stock is 1,030 compared with the current price of 1,242.