A week after easyJet marked its 25th anniversary, the carrier has reported its worst-ever full-year results.
Britain’s biggest budget airline made a headline loss before tax of £835 million in the year to 30 September 2020 – compared with £427m in profits a year earlier.
The coronavirus pandemic saw its passenger numbers halve, and its revenue decline by 53 per cent.
While easyJet experienced a reasonably typical winter up to early March 2020, the second half of the financial year was marked by an 11-week grounding from late March until mid June.
Normally easyJet makes the bulk of its profits from June to September.
But a week before Britain’s biggest budget airline resumed flying, the UK imposed blanket quarantine for all incoming travellers.
While the obligation for returning holidaymakers to self-isolate was eased from 10 July, restrictions were quickly reimposed on the most popular destination, Spain, with self-isolation controls on France and Croatia soon afterwards.
Portugal was made quarantine-free for only two weeks.
UK airlines had hoped for a recovery in autumn, but instead the self-isolation rules were progressively extended.
While the opening up of travel to the Canary Islands gave all carriers hope for a winter-long programme, within a week England had reimposed lockdown – with a complete ban on foreign holidays until 3 December at the earliest.
Along with other airlines, easyJet has grounded most of its flights to, from or within the UK for the remainder of English lockdown.
In addition, Spain’s new rules on pre-departure testing have added considerable cost and complexity to holidays in the Canaries even when the rules allow.