Jet2 faces forking out over £50m in compensation

Jet2 has upped its full-year earnings outlook after swinging to a profit in the first half, new results show.

In the six months to 30 September, the travel group swung to a pre-tax profit of £450.7million, up from a loss of £205.8million from the same point a year ago.

The Leeds-based airline saw its revenue surge by 730 per cent to £3.6billion by the end of the half. 

The group said it was facing forking out compensation to customers totalling over £50million following disruption this summer, which spread across multiple airlines and airports in the UK and abroad this summer.  

Compensation: Jet2 faces paying out compensation totalling over £50m amid travel chaos this summer

The airline’s flight-only ticket yield per passenger increased to £105, up from £73.27 a year ago, and representing a 43 per cent increase. 

Jet2 said the increase in ticket yield was ‘due to changes in the mix of destinations flown, notably to those in the Eastern Mediterranean, and strong consumer demand meaning fewer promotional offers were required.’

The average price of a Jet2holidays package holiday increased by 5 per cent to £782, against £748 a year ago, ‘reflecting inflationary increases in costs and favourable pricing driven by destination mix and robust consumer demand.’

But, the group added: ‘Our operations were directly impacted by the broader disruption seen across the aviation sector and its supply chains in mid-summer as was widely reported in the media, which has resulted in significant delay and compensation costs in excess of £50million.’ 

The airline said seat capacity increased by 14 per cent against Summer 2019, adding that ‘buoyant’ customer demand meant the business achieved an average load factor of 90.7 per cent, against 93.1 per cent in 2019 before the pandemic.

Executive chairman Philip Meeson, said: ‘Our Leisure Travel business has continued its encouraging recovery following the reopening of international travel in early 2022.

‘Strong customer demand, in particular for package holidays, plus a robust pricing environment and considered cost control, have underpinned a substantially improved financial performance compared to recent Covid impacted summer seasons, but also against pre-Covid Summer 2019.’

Shifts: A chart showing Jet2 share price fluctuations over the past year

Shifts: A chart showing Jet2 share price fluctuations over the past year

Looking ahead: easyJet is publishing its full-year results on 29 November

Looking ahead: easyJet is publishing its full-year results on 29 November

Jet2 also said that with Winter 2022/23 bookings encouraging and pricing remaining robust, it was on track to exceed current market expectations for its full-year profit.  

Looking ahead, Jet2 said: ‘The Group faces input cost pressures including fuel, carbon, a strengthened US dollar and wage increases, plus investment to ensure our Colleagues can thrive and have a balanced lifestyle, further underpinning our operational resilience. 

‘This leads us to conclude that margins may come under some pressure.’

It added: ‘As is typical for the business, losses are to be expected in the second half of the financial year.’ 

The group’s board said it plans to dish out a 3p a share interim dividend to shareholders, up from zero a year ago. The dividend will be paid on 3 February 2023 to shareholders on the register at 30 December 2022, with the ex-dividend date being 29 December 2022. 

Jet2 shares rose today and were up 3.32 per cent or 29.60p to 921.40p this afternoon, having fallen over 17 per cent in the last year. 

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: ‘Airlines are now reaching the point where they can report earnings that reflect life after Covid, with travellers having had the chance to receive the vaccine and boosters. However, as one headwind passes another arrived in the form of airport disruption with a lack of staff causing chaos to flight schedules and the whole travelling experience.

‘Against this backdrop Jet2 has done remarkably well, with profits well ahead of pre-Covid days thanks to pent-up demand for travel, greater capacity to fly customers abroad and a greater percentage of sales coming from higher margin package holding customers. It has also needed to run fewer promotions which has saved a few quid on marketing costs and helped to avoid big margin dilution.

‘Despite having to shell out significant compensation payments from the mid-summer disruption to air travel, Jet2 can’t really grumble about its latest financial performance. However, it won’t be plain sailing from here.’

Rival easyJet is publishing its full-year results on 29 November. easyJet shares were up 2.51 per cent or 9.70p to 396.30p this afternoon. The airline’s shares have fallen over 28 per cent in the past year.

Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘EasyJet have been expecting capacity over the October half-term and Christmas to be back at pre-pandemic levels. Next week investors will find out if this was a fair prediction. This will be a crucial barometer for the group’s performance over the next year. Many are cautiously optimistic it can reach this target.

‘The other thing that will be monitored is the scale of full year losses. These are expected to come in between £170million and £190million, owing to adverse exchange rates and disruption and cancellations in the third quarter. A worse-than-expecting showing on this front won’t be well received by the market.’