UK airline easyJet confident on summer after winter improves


LONDON (Reuters) -British airline easyJet’s winter performance improved on growing demand and as it added capacity, mitigating the impact of flight suspensions to Israel, and it said summer bookings were also building “well”.

For the six months to the end of March, easyJet said it expected its pretax loss to come in between 340 million pounds and 360 million pounds compared to a consensus forecast for a 390 million pound loss, and an improvement of more than 50 million pounds on last year.

Looking to the key summer season when easyJet makes all its profit, it said demand was strong and there had been increases in volume and pricing compared to last year, with the group’s holiday business also performing well.

“We are well set up operationally for this summer season where we expect easyJet to be one of the fastest growing major airlines in Europe and take more customers on easyJet holidays than ever before,” Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said in a statement on Thursday.

Airlines including easyJet have over the last six months cancelled flights to Israel due to instability in the Middle East. EasyJet had already warned in January of a 40 million pound hit.

It restarted a limited service to Israel in March but on Tuesday said flights there would be suspended until October. It continues to fly to Turkey and Egypt in the region.

($1 = 0.8021 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton)

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