EasyJet CEO 'confident' after last summer's travel chaos

EasyJet CEO 'confident' after last summer's travel chaos

EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren expects a 'better' summer for travellers after last year's chaos
EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren expects a 'better' summer for travellers after last year's chaos. Photo: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP/File
Source: AFP

PAY ATTENTION: Enjoy reading our stories? Join YEN.com.gh's Telegram channel for more!

The aviation sector has endured chaos at airports after the end of Covid restrictions, high inflation and strikes, but easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren is upbeat about the British airline's future.

European airports struggled to cope with a surge in travel last year as the sector has been severely understaffed after laying off thousands of people during the pandemic.

The sector is also facing higher costs as it is under pressure to reduce its carbon footprint and energy prices jumped after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Nevertheless, easyJet lifted its annual profit forecast for the second time this year on Tuesday, saying it will beat expectations of £260 million ($322 million) for its financial year to September.

"Given the rate of the bookings and intake we have, we feel confident enough that we could say that we expect to beat the profit expectations that the market currently has," Lundgren told AFP.

Read also

Asian markets swing as inflation, rates worry investors

"While there definitely is a cost-of-living crisis across Europe and in many parts of the world, travel and flying has been the thing that people now even more prioritise coming out of the pandemic," he said.

PAY ATTENTION: Follow us on Instagram - get the most important news directly in your favourite app!

While fuel prices have gone up 71 percent, Lundgren said the Luton-based airline's average fare has increased by 31 percent, or 14 euros, "so it still is within reach for many customers."

Better summer

The Swedish executive said he expects travellers to have a "better" experience this summer as the situation at airports have improved.

Passengers faced huge lines, misplaced luggage and flight delays last year due to staff shortages, most notably at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, a major European hub.

"I think across a number of airports who suffered immensely last year -- with some exceptions, Schiphol as an example -- have gotten themselves in a much more resilient position than they were in," Lundgren said.

Read also

Soaring inflation dampens Eid holiday spirit in crisis-hit Pakistan

The sector has also been hit by strikes.

Some 30 percent of European flights were affected between March 9 and April 9, most notably by work stoppages by French air traffic controllers opposing pension reform.

"I think it's quite unacceptable the consequences that this now has. Ten million people have been affected by this," Lundgren said.

He said easyJet has written to the French transport minister and aviation regulator to ask them to increase the "minimum level of service" imposed during strikes.

"The more reputation an industry or a country gets for strikes and not being reliable, that will have a dampening effect on demand, people will just go somewhere else," Lundgren added.

"Why should I go to France if I think I can be exposed to a strike?"

Emissions cuts

Another challenge for the aviation industry is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Parliament adopted this week a reform of the European Union's carbon market, broadening the emissions trading scheme to more industries and lowering quotas of allowable polluting gases.

Read also

UK overhauls energy regulation after meter scandal

Despite the higher costs, Lundgren said, "there's absolutely room for growth".

"You have to work on actions to decarbonise" even as the company grows, he said.

Lundgren said the "danger" airlines face now is that, in the name of sustainability, politicians want to suppress demand and say "let's fly less by making it more expensive".

"There is no evidence that that works," he said.

EasyJet has set a target to cut carbon emissions by 35 percent by 2035 compared to 2019 levels, but Lundgren said the sector needs government help.

"We need governments and we need decision makers to support in terms of building out the supply of green hydrogen, to encourage zero emissions technology," he said. "We need decision makers to finally reform the airspace in Europe."

New feature: Сheck out news that is picked for YOU ➡️ click on “Recommended for you” and enjoy!

Source: AFP

AFP avatar

AFP AFP text, photo, graphic, audio or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP news material may not be stored in whole or in part in a computer or otherwise except for personal and non-commercial use. AFP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP news material or in transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages whatsoever. As a newswire service, AFP does not obtain releases from subjects, individuals, groups or entities contained in its photographs, videos, graphics or quoted in its texts. Further, no clearance is obtained from the owners of any trademarks or copyrighted materials whose marks and materials are included in AFP material. Therefore you will be solely responsible for obtaining any and all necessary releases from whatever individuals and/or entities necessary for any uses of AFP material.

Online view pixel