easyJet has reported a loss before tax of £272 million for the first half of financial 2019, compared to a loss of £68 million for the same period last year.
The low-cost carrier said the fall into the red reflected the negative impact of Brexit on the value of the pound and the closure of Gatwick airport following a drone incident.
At the same time, passenger numbers for the six months to March 31st increased by 4.9 million, or 13.3 per cent, to 41.6 million, when compared to 2018.
Taking a bullish attitude on the results, Johan Lundgren, easyJet chief executive said: “We are well-equipped to succeed in this more difficult market through a number of short term customer and trading initiatives for the summer; measures to improve our operational resilience; and by focusing on what is most important to customers - value for money, punctuality and great customer service.
“All this is underpinned by a market leading balance sheet.”
Markets agreed, with shares in easyJet up four per cent this morning.
easyJet saw capacity increased by 14.5 per cent over the period, principally due to annualising of new operations in Berlin.
easyJet grew its existing network capacity by around seven per cent over the past six months.
As a result, the load factor at the airline decreased by one percentage point, to 90 per cent.
Total revenue increased by 7.3 per cent to £2,343 million.
However, total revenue per seat decreased by 6.3 per cent, to £50.71, with a decrease of 7.4 per cent at constant currency.