In Brief

EasyJet shares in hard landing as losses soar

Brexit squeeze not a concern as Brits "prioritise" holidays, says airline's boss

EasyJet's shares tumbled more than six per cent this morning after it posted half-year losses that were ten times larger than the equivalent figure for last year.

The budget airline lost £212m during the six months to March, up from £21m in 2016.

Of this, £82m was the impact of the pound's slump since the Brexit vote last year, which has reduced the value of revenues booked in foreign currencies.

Easyjet's results were also hit by the timing of Easter, a holiday in which families, in particular, tend to travel. Last year, it fell during March and counted towards first-half results. This year, however, it fell in April.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said the results were "resilient" and "in line with market expectations".

She also said it was usual for travel firms and airlines to make losses in the first half of the year covering the winter season, with profits concentrated into the second half, which includes the peak summer season.

She told the BBC: "Nineteen out of 21 years, Easyjet has lost money in the winter and actually, airlines do lose money in the winter."

Brexit's effect on travel firms is also concerning analysts.

The drop in the pound is not only affecting the bottom-line for companies, the knock-on effect it has on inflation is leading to a rise in living costs, which could mean people spending less on luxuries such as holidays.

However, McCall said: "British people - and all Europeans - value their holidays and so they actually prioritise their holidays over everything else.

"One survey said British families were saying they would pay for a family holiday over buying kids' clothes."

EasyJet's revenue grew 3.2 per cent to £1.8bn and it flew a record 33.8 million passengers in the six months, up nine per cent from a year before.

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