EasyJet says bookings for this summer with its holidays arm are up 250% on last year, fuelling the airline industry’s hopes of pent up demand for when lockdown restrictions ease.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren told the BBC it offers confidence for the travel market post-coronavirus.
“We know that people want to go on holiday as soon as they can,” he said.
May is currently proving to be the most popular month for holidays, Mr Lundgren added.
Tougher lockdown rules across Europe, the closure of air corridors, and uncertainty about travel now the UK has left the EU, have piled more pressure on the airline industry at the start of 2021.
“We know there is pent up demand – we have seen that every time restrictions have been relaxed, and so we know that people want to go on holiday as soon as they can,” Mr Lundgren said on Monday.
“We have been pleased to see that some customers are making plans for their summer holidays now, with EasyJet holidays bookings for summer 21 up 250%, compared to the same time last year, and with May currently proving to be the most popular month for holiday bookings at the moment.”
Mr Lundgren told the BBC the vaccination programme underway in the UK and Europe was “undoubtedly the key to unlocking travel again”. The airline was ready to ramp up its flying schedule as soon as customer confidence returned, he added.
Pre-departure coronavirus tests were part of this confidence process, but were to some extent “prohibitive”, he said.
With most tests at least costing £75, rising to £150 in some places, it makes flying much more expensive. “We would like to see the prices comes down,” Mr Lundgren said.