EasyJet results: Airline hit by Gaza-Israel conflict - but profit surges to £455m with first dividend paid to shareholders since pandemic
After a record summer, budget airline easyJet has announced its pre-tax profits have reached £432m for the year to 30 September. This is against losses of £208m the previous year, seeing the group announce its first dividend payout to shareholders since the pandemic.
Underlying, or headline, profits stood at £455m against a £178m loss in 2021-22. A record-breaking performance over its second half and the peak summer season helped it shrug off a 30% jump in its costs, with its fuel bill soaring by 59% to £2 billion over the year.
However, the airline cautioned that it does not expect to narrow losses in the first quarter of its new financial year as flights and wider demand are impacted by the war between Hamas and Israel. Its flights to Israel and Jordan are temporarily paused, with Egypt also seeing a knock-on effect – altogether representing a combined 4% of its overall flight programme.
EasyJet said: “Additionally there was a broader impact on near-term flight searches and bookings across the industry, though this seems to be coming back with a recent improvement in trading. Accordingly, despite positive underlying strength, easyJet does not currently expect its first quarter loss to improve year on year.”
Despite the woes in the Middle East, easyJet said the outlook for the new year as a whole was “positive” thanks to strong bookings for next summer and supply constraints in Europe. The group resumed its dividends with a 4.5p a share payout due in early 2024 and confirmed it expects to increase this to 20% of profit after tax.
The booking strength for summer 2024, coupled with supply constraints in Europe, provided a positive outlook for the next year as a whole. Chief executive Johan Lundgren told investors: "We see a positive outlook for this year with airline and holidays bookings both ahead year on year and recent consumer research highlights that around three quarters of Britons plan to spend more on their holidays versus last year, with travel continuing to be the top priority for household discretionary spending."