By Kristy Dorsey

Budget carrier easyJet is upping flights to 40 per cent of capacity for the rest of the summer following higher demand than previously expected during continuing pandemic uncertainty.

After nearly three months with its fleet grounded, the British low-cost airline joined the rest of the industry in a tentative return to the skies from mid-June. After carrying more than two million passengers in July, it has now resumed flying on more than 100 additional routes to and from the UK.

This will take easyJet to 40% of last year’s capacity during the three months to September, compared to earlier guidance of 30%. It is currently flying to 31 destinations out of Edinburgh and 17 out of Glasgow, though services from Aberdeen and Inverness are limited to London and Bristol.

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The airline’s cash burn during the three months to the end of June came in at £774 million, rather than the £1 billion it had previously predicted. It also said that its fourth quarter loss would be less than the £324.5m loss booked in the third quarter.

The company, which announced in May that it would need to cut 4,500 jobs, said it remains focused on “profitable flying”. It is currently in consultation with employees over the 30% reduction in headcount, with accompanying adjustments to its network and bases.

Chief executive Johan Lundgren said he was “confident” that easyJet will continue to serve its customers well.

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“I am really encouraged that we have seen higher than expected levels of demand with load factor of 84% in July with destinations like Faro and Nice remaining popular with customers,” he added.

Total group revenue during the third quarter to the end of June was £7m, compared to £1.76bn during the same period a year earlier. The company resumed flights on June 15 with 10 aircraft, flying a predominantly domestic schedule in the UK, France and Italy. It ran 706 flights during the third quarter, down from 165,656 previously.

Following improvements in demand and a further relaxing of travel restrictions, the July schedule was increased to 147 lines of flying across Europe. August is expected to rise to approximately 210 lines of flight.