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LONDON – EasyJet's sales were down more than 50% through September, the company said Tuesday after the coronavirus pandemic brought the travel industry to a standstill. The British airline only expected to fly around 20% of its planned capacity in the last three months of 2020.
EasyJet had sales of GBP 3 billion for the full 2020 financial year, a decrease of 52.9% from the previous year.
The number of passengers fell by 50% over the same period due to home orders, quarantine policies and other restrictions related to Covid.
Other highlights of the year:
The capacity decreased by 45.7% compared to 2019. Sales reached £ 3 billion compared to £ 6.4 billion a year earlier. The load factor (the percentage of seat capacity filled with passengers) decreased by 4.3 percentage points.
Despite the tough times for the company, EasyJet's CEO said the company was on track to capitalize on a recovery.
"We also know the brand's appeal in terms of the trust it creates for customers and the value for money we represent provides a solid foundation and has a strong recovery when the recovery comes," said Johan Lundgren, CEO of EasyJet CNBC's Squawk Box Europe Monday.
He added: "The longer these travel restrictions are in place, the greater the need to catch up."
For example, the airline said that within 24 hours of the UK government's decision to remove mandatory quarantine for those arriving from the Canary Islands in late October, sales rose 876% in five days.
In addition, Lundgren said the recent announcements related to a Covid-19 vaccine were "definitely good news for us".
On Monday, Moderna said its coronavirus vaccine was more than 94% effective. Last week Pfizer and BioNTech also announced that their vaccine had an efficacy rate of over 90%.
"The news about the vaccine is really good and I think it will really help build demand and confidence from people about future travel plans," Lundgren said.
EasyJet's shares are down around 45% since early 2020.