European heatwave fails to deter tourists as demand for easyJet grows

Tourists are not deterred by the heat wave in Europe, as travelers continue to head out for their summer vacations amid growing demand for travel, according to easyJet.

The airline reported a record pre-tax profit of 203 million pounds for the three months to the end of June, beating analyst forecasts, as demand for summer travel picks up.

The record gain came despite the continued disruption of strikes across Europe, including by air traffic control managers in France, and the planned strike by ground staff at London’s Gatwick airport.

EasyJet’s rivals across Europe are also expected to post strong earnings for the final quarter as post-pandemic consumer demand for travel continues unabated. Reserve growth is expected to continue through the winter.

The Luton-based airline said it was experiencing strong demand for its holidays, while bookings for winter travel have more than doubled compared to the previous year.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s chief executive, said the airline expected to make another record pre-tax profit between July and September, when it will operate more than 160,000 flights.

He said the airline was increasing capacity over the winter.

The airline said it was earning 23% more per seat on its plane compared to a year earlier, while the cost of flying its planes, excluding fuel, has fallen slightly, with oil prices stabilizing.

Lundgren warned of possible travel disruption from strikes, including at air traffic control across Europe, and possible limited airspace availability.

“We are absolutely focused on mitigating the impact of the challenging external environment on our customers and taking them on their well-deserved vacations,” he said.

Last week easyJet canceled 1,700 summer flights, mainly from Gatwick, which could disrupt the holiday plans of thousands of passengers, blaming “unprecedented delays in air traffic control”.

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More air traffic control strikes have been threatened in continental Europe, after a union at the Eurocontrol network administrator’s operations center formally warned of strikes in the next six months in early July. He did not name firm dates.

Lundgren said the strikes have yet to cause any serious disruption: “The situation is stable, so it’s hard to say what will happen in the future. This is usually due to delays rather than cancellations on European networks.”

There have been 40% more strike days for air traffic control managers across Europe so far this year compared to 2019.

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