Budget airline EasyJet (EZJ) has warned of weaker customer demand and lower ticket prices as prolonged Brexit-related uncertainty deters holidaymakers from flying.

Shares in the airline are experiencing some turbulence, down 6.7% at £10.41, after warning its outlook for the six months ending September 2019 is now ‘more cautious’.

Over EasyJet’s first half of its financial year (the six months to 31 March) the company estimates revenue per seat declined 7.4% in line with expectations amid a forecast pre-tax loss of £275m.

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‘EasyJet insists it will be "flying as usual" whatever happens with Brexit, however these positive words may not be enough to solve its problems,’ says AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

The seemingly never-ending Brexit saga and weaker ticket prices are not the only headwinds for EasyJet as fuel prices are anticipated to hit £37m by March 2019.

‘Fuel can be forward-bought but ultimately management are still at the mercy of oil price movements,’ comments Mould.

Over the last year, shares in EasyJet have tumbled nearly 35% as airlines engage in a cut-throat price war and battle rising costs and disruption from various strikes.

Mould believes EasyJet won’t be the only company affected by sector headwinds, which contributed to the recent demise of Wow Air and Primera Air.

Mould also flags recent profit warnings from tour operators TUI (TUI) and Thomas Cook (TCG).

WAS THERE ANY GOOD NEWS?

There were some bright spots in today's announcement as first half sales are expected to grow 7.3% to £2.34bn thanks to a 14.5% jump in capacity.

The airline is also getting closer to meeting shareholder rules to ensure it maintains the right to fly in the European Union if the UK leaves.

Just under 50% of EasyJet is currently owned by European shareholders (excluding UK shareholders) meaning it is close to achieving the majority ownership of over 50% to keep flying rights.


Issue Date: 01 Apr 2019