EasyJet Ski Flights Show Britons Weathering Pound's DeclineBy
Carrier says winter sports routes reveal confidence is high
City-break bookings also strong, led by Amsterdam, Barcelona
U.K. holidaymakers are weathering the impact of last year’s Brexit’s vote on the pound, with passenger numbers on EasyJet Plc’s ski routes and city-break flights surging last month, according to the discount carrier.
Traffic from Britain to winter sports centers gained 12 percent in February, exceeding the 10.5 percent increase across the network, EasyJet said Monday. Group-wide travel to cities rose 11.5 percent, led by U.K. flights to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, Venice and the resorts of Nice, Malaga and Alicante.
The figures indicate “continued increased demand for cities and ski, particularly from the U.K., demonstrating strong levels of consumer confidence,” the Luton, England-based company said in an email.
With ski breaks in particular regarded as expensive discretionary purchases, EasyJet’s data suggests Britons are still spending on overseas vacations even after the pound slumped 10.5 percent in 12 months, falling to its lowest point in seven years in October. Overcapacity that’s led to price wars among short-haul carriers may have taken the sting out of travel to some destinations.
EasyJet’s overall passenger tally rose 8.2 percent in February to 5.34 million, with seat occupancy levels up 1.6 points to 92 percent. EasyJet plans to grow U.K. capacity at the same pace as elsewhere, though that’s slightly behind previous years when Britain tended to offset slower expansion in mainland Europe, its head of U.K. operations Sophie Dekkers has said. The weak pound also hasn’t yet prompted an anticipated pickup in inbound travel.
Shares of EasyJet rose as much as 2.5 percent and traded 0.8 percent higher at 964.50 pence as of 12:58 p.m. in London. They’re down 4 percent this year.