Jet2 in £370m loss amid ‘unparalleled challenges’

Leeds-based Jet2 plc said on Thursday it made a statutory loss before taxation from continuing operations of £369.9 million for the year ended March 31, 2021, compared to a profit of £147.7 million a year earlier.

In a year of “unparalleled operational and financial challenges” Jet2 said its revenue plunged to £395.4 million from £3.58 billion.

No dividend will be paid.

Jet2 said as a result of the impact of Covid-19 its ‘own cash’ balance — excluding advance customer deposits — and its careful preservation became a top priority, with the board adapting quickly to the challenges presented “by taking considered but decisive actions to minimise losses and reduce cash burn.”

The company said its “strong financial foundations and previously positive long-term operational and financial performance” enabled rapid access to £1 billion of additional funding in the financial year “primarily through shareholder and bank support, for which we are very grateful.”

It said its year end liquidity position remained strong with a total cash balance of £1.379 billion.

“Since 31 March 2021, the group has further enhanced its liquidity by signing a new unsecured £150.0m term loan maturing in September 2023,  and also announced the successful issuance of £387.4m of senior unsecured convertible bonds due in 2026, positioning the company for a strong recovery as lockdown restrictions are lifted, through fleet growth and fleet renewal opportunities,” said Jet2.

“Consequently, as at 4 July 2021, the group had a total cash balance of £1,908m and an ‘own cash’ position of £1,460m, this after having processed over £1.4bn in refunds to customers since the pandemic began.”

Jet2 executive chairman Philip Meeson said in his outlook: “Group performance for the financial year ending 31 March 2022 is very much dependent on the level of flying permitted for the remainder of Summer 21 and performance in the second half of the financial year, periods for which we still have limited visibility.

“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.

“We believe opportunities for financially strong, resilient and trusted operators will only increase as restrictions are lifted.

“Given the significant actions we have taken to carefully protect our cash balance and to improve our available liquidity and with our own cash balance as at 4 July 2021 of £1,460m, we are well placed to respond swiftly as the remaining UK Government travel restrictions are finally relaxed and customer confidence recovers.

“We are confident that once normality returns, our customers will be determined to enjoy the wonderful experience of a well-deserved Jet2 holiday and that and Jet2holidays will continue to have a thriving future, taking millions of UK holidaymakers annually, to the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and to European Leisure Cities and that Jet2 plc will emerge from this crisis an even stronger company.”