easyJet has warned losses for the six months to March 31st could total £690 to £730 million as Covid-19 continues to take a huge toll on the aviation sector.

The huge figures are, however, slightly better than expectations.

The low-cost carrier said the effects of a cost-cutting programme will support improved margins and reduce seasonality for the future. 

As of the end of March, easyJet said it had unrestricted access to around £2.9 billion of liquidity, having raised over £5.5 billion since the beginning of the pandemic.

The carrier said it was thus well positioned to capitalise on the recovery of travel once restrictions are eased across the network.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said: “easyJet has maintained a disciplined approach to flying during the first half of our financial year, resulting in a first half loss and cash burn better than expectations. 

“We continue to have access to significant levels of liquidity alongside our major cost-out programme which continues to deliver ongoing cost and efficiency benefits. 

“All of this positions us well to lead the recovery.”

easyJet said it would continue to operate a reduced schedule throughout much of the upcoming third quarter, but was ready to ramp up operations to match the level of demand seen in the market.

Passenger numbers for the six months ending March 31st at easyJet decreased by 89 per cent to 4.1 million.

This led to total group revenue for the six months decreasing by 90 per cent to around £235 million.

“We welcome the confirmation by the UK government that international travel is on track to reopen as planned in mid-May,” added Lundgren.

“easyJet was founded to make travel accessible for all and so we continue to engage with government to ensure that the cost of the required testing is driven down so that it does not risk turning back the clock and make travel too costly for some.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation across Europe and with vaccination programmes accelerating, most countries are planning to resume flying at scale in May. 

“We have the operational flexibility to rapidly increase flying and add destinations to match demand. 

“easyJet is ready to resume flying, prepared for the ramp up and looking forward to being able to reunite people with their families or take them on leisure and business flights once again.”