Heathrow Airport and easyJet, two air industry firms impacted by this year’s flying chaos, have disclosed significant financial losses while describing how they are dealing with the summer surge.
EasyJet claimed its operations have “normalized” following frenetic schedule changes since the expiration of COVID pandemic travel restrictions.
Heathrow, which has likewise failed to keep up with increased demand, presented a similar picture for its own abilities to handle crowds during the summer rush.
However, it asserted that airlines’ ground-handling activities were still a burden on reliability.
Heathrow put a further restriction on leaving passenger numbers earlier this month, in addition to a UK government amnesty that enabled airlines to cancel flights without risk of losing valuable take-off and landing slots.
It added that despite the ground-handling shortfall, passengers had had a “smooth and reliable travel” since last Thursday.
According to the airport, higher passenger numbers lowered its first-half adjusted loss before tax by £466 million.
However, it remained in the red by the same metric to the tune of £321m, and it announced that it would not pay a dividend this year as a result.
EasyJet posted a pre-tax loss of £114 million for the third quarter.
It cited the “unprecedented ramp up” in aviation, as well as a tight labor market, as reasons for its own operating issues.
“We took measures this summer to establish the additional resilience required, and the operation has now normalized,” CEO Johan Lundgren told investors.
Despite the issues, it said it completed 95% of its scheduled timetable and carried 22 million passengers throughout the quarter.
According to the report, July, August, and September are presently 71% booked, with a load factor slightly higher than in 2019 and a sold ticket yield 13% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
“The summer break has started nicely at Heathrow, owing to early planning and managing demand in line with airline ground handling capacity,” said Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye.
“We can’t ignore that COVID has badly wounded the aviation sector, and the next few years will require investment to restore capacity, with a focus on safety, customer service, resilience, and efficiency,” he added.
“Airlines must hire and train additional ground handlers; airports must make up for underinvestment during the COVID years, which includes updating the T2 baggage system and adding more security lanes at Heathrow.”