Budget carrier easyJet is on course for a return to profitability after three years of pandemic losses, with "strong and sustained" demand for travel despite the cost-of-living crisis.

The company reported a return to the traditional January boom in bookings, hitting record numbers on several days. As a result, it expects to beat market expectations for profits this year.

"We have seen strong and sustained demand for travel over the first quarter, carrying almost 50 per cent more customers compared with last year," chief executive Johan Lundgren said in a trading update to shareholders.

"Many returned to make bookings during the traditional turn of year sale where we filled five aircraft every minute in the peak hours, which culminated in three record-breaking weekends for sales revenue this month."

Fares have soared by almost a quarter for this year's Easter holidays with like-for-like prices currently up 24% on the same period in 2019, the year before the onset of the pandemic. Demand for travel in the UK has been strong, while the company's easyJet holidays are already 60% sold for this summer.

Gravitricity launches £40m funding drive for green energy storage

 

Edinburgh-based Gravitricity is looking to raise £40 million to fund construction of three green energy storage facilities within the next five years.

The company has appointed corporate finance specialists Gneiss Energy to spearhead the fundraising campaign, which will target both industrial investors and specialist impact funds. The three demonstrator projects are aimed at proving the viability of Gravitricity's technology, which stores the output from wind and solar farms until it is required at times of high demand.

Opinion: Grinning like a Cheshire cat - the men without a plan

 

Of course politicians smile but at times it seems Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt are, amid the UK’s cost-of-living crisis and economic malaise, just a bit too much like the Cheshire Cat.

This resemblance is, it must be emphasised, confined to the Cheshire Cat’s grinning. It would most certainly not extend to the enigmatic feline’s role, in the minds of some experts, as a guiding spirit for Alice during her time in Wonderland.

The economic leadership skills of Messrs Sunak and Hunt seem to be conspicuous by their absence. And the pair certainly do not evoke a feeling of wonder, at least not in any positive sense.

Sign up for free: You can now get the briefing sent direct to your email inbox twice-daily, and Business Week for the seven-day round-up on Sunday 👇

HeraldScotland: