Shares of Leeds-based Jet2 plc rose as much as 5% on Friday as the firm published a trading update showing that relaxation of UK travel restrictions in early 2022 “resulted in bookings increasing materially.”
Despite predicting a loss of up to £383 million for the year to March 31, 2022, Jet2 said “on sale seat capacity for summer 2022 is approximately 14% higher than summer 2019 and bookings are encouraging.”
Jet2 said: “Passenger sectors flown and average load factors in October and November 2021 increased markedly following the dropping of the UK Government traffic light system in early October 2021.
“However, the improving conditions were adversely affected in December 2021 and January 2022 as a result of the new Omicron Covid variant and the reimposition of international travel restrictions, both of which served to dampen customer confidence.
“Pleasingly, progressive relaxation of UK travel restrictions in early 2022 – firstly, with the removal of pre-departure tests for vaccinated people travelling to the UK; and subsequently no longer having to take a post-arrival lateral flow test – resulted in bookings increasing materially with average load factors for February and March 2022 approaching seasonal norms as customer confidence in travelling internationally rallied.
“As a result, the board expects to report a group loss before foreign exchange revaluation and taxation for the year of between £378m and £383m.
“Total cash at 31 March 2022 was £2.23bn with an ‘Own Cash’ balance (excluding customer advance deposits) of £1.08bn”
For the year ending March 31, 2023 (FY23), Jet2 said: “On sale seat capacity for summer 2022 is approximately 14% higher than summer 2019 and bookings are encouraging.
“Package holiday customers are also displaying a materially higher mix of the total at +12ppts.
“Average load factors for the summer 2022 season are currently 2.5ppts behind summer 2019 at the same point (against the 14% increase in seat capacity), with booking momentum accelerating, customer confidence continuing to grow and pricing robust, as customers treat themselves to their long anticipated and well-deserved holidays.
“We have worked hard to plan recovery for Summer 2022, investing well ahead of the season to ensure we have adequate resources to operate with our normal levels of customer care.
“We also self-handle at many of our key bases and are therefore not reliant on third parties for these aspects of our operations.
“Additionally, we are currently 95% hedged for jet fuel for summer 2022 and approximately 65% hedged for winter 22/23 in line with our normal policy.
“Separately, we recently exercised 6 of our purchase rights from our recently announced new Airbus A321 neo aircraft order, meaning we now have 57 firm orders with the flexibility to extend up to a total of 75 aircraft.”